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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Isherwood hits out at Health Minister over NHS

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has hit out at the Health Minister for failing to address the array of problems currently facing NHS Wales services in North Wales communities.
 
Speaking in the Assembly Chamber this week, Mr Isherwood asked the Minister, Mark Drakeford AM, what the Welsh Government is doing to improve  primary care provision in North Wales and to respond to concerns raised by constituents.

However, Mr Isherwood claims the Minister failed to answer his questions and instead laid the blame for the problems on the Health Board.
 
Mr Isherwood said: “The North Wales Community Health Council has made it clear that you’re responsible for setting the policy and financial frameworks within which the Health Board and they have to operate.
 
“Last week, I told the Deputy Minister that Holywell Community Hospital staff had told me that they w an ted to take pressure off Glan Clwyd but were not being given the staff to do it, and that extra investment in community hospitals like Mold and Holywell and NHS community beds in Flint would take pressure off the general hospitals and enable the health board to use its resources more efficiently.
 
“How, therefore, do you respond to the replies I've received from constituents in Flint to your reply, and the Health Board reply, with evidence supporting their 99.3% referendum in favour of a return of NHS community beds to Flint, that, since the hospital closed, step-down care from Glan Clwyd to Holywell for Flint patients has not worked, waiting times in excess of three months have been experienced by many, there are simply not sufficient beds in the system and, currently, waiting times for a GP visit are three to four weeks?”
 
The Minister replied: “The Member was right when he started by saying that the responsibilities of Ministers are to set policies and provide finance. He might have gone on to note that we are not responsible for operational matters, and his questions would be better directed to those who are responsible—that is to say, the chief executive of the local health board.”
  
Mr Isherwood added: “What is the purpose of having a Health Minister if he refuses to address problems in our health service?
 
“Never was there a clearer case of a Minister and a Government washing their hands of responsibility, locking our health boards in handcuffs and leaving them to take the hit for the consequences of Welsh Government policy.”

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