Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies has today called for healthcare to feature prominently within the UK levelling-up agenda, to allow patients in North Wales the same access to, and choice between, specialist healthcare that patients in England have.
Questioning the Prime Minister in the House of Commons earlier, James highlighted the discrepancies in access between England and Wales and asked whether this could be addressed in the UK’s levelling-up agenda.
“Patients in England have unfettered access to specialist hospital care anywhere in England, including within world-leading centres of excellence, but my constituents in North Wales have no such automatic choice, with access dependent on restrictive contracts or individual funding requests. So will my right hon. Friend do all he can to ensure that healthcare features prominently within the UK levelling-up agenda?”
In his response, the Prime Minister spoke of the work his Government has undertaken with the Welsh Government during the pandemic, but said more could be achieved going forward.
He said: “I thank my hon. Friend for his point, and he knows a great deal about the subject. We have worked very hard with the Welsh Government throughout the pandemic, supporting them with £8.6 billion of additional funding through the Barnett formula, but clearly we need to learn the lessons together as we bounce forward from this pandemic.”
Speaking afterwards, James said:
“As the pandemic subsides and the NHS begins to ramp up provision of routine care, we have the opportunity to put right the mistakes of the past. Healthcare is largely devolved but I believe the UK Government has a role in ensuring minimum standards and access to care for all across the United Kingdom. The forthcoming Health & Care Bill at Parliament would be an opportune moment to help put this into legislation.”