As a GP, and through working as an NHS doctor in the area over the last 19 years, I have become ever more concerned about local service provision. These issues long preceded the pandemic and my concern has been heightened by large numbers of awful stories that have been brought to me by constituents who have often come to harm unnecessarily – as well as colleagues who work in the health service. On a regular basis I am hearing from constituents with shocking accounts of difficult access, failing services and poor patient outcomes.
- The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP gave an indication of his concerns in June 2022 here.
- The NHS in Wales was discussed on Radio 4.
- It was also covered by ‘BBC Wales Investigates’.
- BCUHB returned to Special Measures.
- Audit Wales report identifies "deeply worrying degree of dysfunctionality".
- Significant concerns raised following HIW Inspections.
- Accountancy firm, Ernest Young investigation reveals BCUHB wrongly and deliberately accounted for £122million
- Secretary of State for Wales, The Rt Hon David TC Davies, called for an independent inquiry into BCUHB.
In Wales, the NHS has been under Labour control for the last quarter of a century – including via the devolved Welsh Administration since 1999. Over the last 10-15 years, the NHS in North Wales has become increasingly unfit for purpose. For too long, Welsh Labour Ministers have been letting down patients and the dedicated, hard working NHS staff in North Wales with poor management and organisation of the NHS across Wales as a whole.
The NHS in other parts of the UK performs better and more safely, often with a lower expenditure per head of the population.
It has become clear to me in recent years that Cardiff Bay lacks the capacity and capability to improve the quality of the service here in North Wales and does not understand the nature of our region and the severity of the issues at hand. I therefore need your support to secure a public inquiry into the NHS in North Wales. I also want your backing for the introduction of UK-wide comparable statistics on NHS performance and outcomes. We need to ensure a minimum standard of care for all British citizens.
You can sign up to support this campaign at https://letstalk.conservatives.com/7D3C67A8-A948-EE11-A3B6-00505693FFD8
More broadly, I have been working very hard to find ways to resolve these issues, despite devolution. Part of my campaign to improve the service has been to work with my Conservative colleagues in North Wales to push influential groups and stakeholders to take action and acknowledge the failings.
I have met the Health Board repeatedly, along with the North Wales Community Health Council, the Senior Coroner for North Wales (East and Central), Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, the General Medical Council, Audit Wales, the Royal College of Surgeons, Health Education and Improvement Wales and Donna Ockenden.
Details of some of my recent efforts can be found at the bottom of this page under 'News'.
I believe that the pandemic has demonstrated how comparable data in the NHS can help improve policy decision and, ultimately, patient outcomes. Therefore, I have been pushing for the UK Government to mandate UK-wide comparable and interoperable data. By introducing UK-wide health data, politicians at all levels will be held to account, practitioners and policy makers can better share best practice, and, ultimately, equal health outcomes will be promoted. My target for such provisions is within the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill.
I have also been made aware of the difficulties constituents in North Wales are having accessing the 111 service. You can see my comments to ITV News on this issue here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuUg9D_J-bY
Given the reports I hear regularly of unacceptable and sometimes unsafe healthcare through Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, I was not surprised that the Health Board was returned to special measures. However, I remain concerned at the potential for a turnaround while longstanding layers of management remain largely untouched. You can read more of my thoughts on this here.
I regularly raise individual cases with the Health Board and with GP surgeries to assist constituents with their concerns on matters of policy, process and access to services, and I welcome contact from anyone who feels I can assist.
I am also aware of the significant issues many constituents are facing with accessing NHS dental services in the local area. This is sadly representative of an underlying, significant issue with access to NHS dentistry across Wales more broadly. Therefore, I have been calling for rapid improvements in this area, and you can read more details on my recent efforts here.
The UK Government is providing historic funding for the NHS, and is committed to investing in our health and public services properly. There are 200,000 more employees in the NHS since 2012 and UK expenditure on health is now ranked 5th out of the 38 OECD countries as a percentage of GDP. Despite difficult national financial circumstances, NHS spending has increased every year since 2010.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to local NHS failures. However, I have a good understanding of the problems that exist and their causes and am actively working with colleagues on all options available.