NHS Reforms: Cameron Should Admit He Got It Wrong Claims Wales' First Minister Carwyn Jones

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David Cameron should admit he got it wrong, said Wales' first minister
David Cameron should admit he got it wrong, said Wales' first minister

David Cameron should find the humility to admit his party's proposals to reform England's NHS are wrong, Wales' First Minister Carwyn Jones has said.

The Prime Minister is holding a Downing Street summit on Monday to discuss his Government's highly contentious shake-up of the NHS.

Critics say the proposed reforms are effectively privatisation of the health service by the back door - and prompted 142,000 people to sign a petition calling for the Health and Social Care Bill to be scrapped.

This afternoon, Mr Jones spoke about the issue during Welsh Labour's two-day annual conference in Cardiff.

He promised market forces would stop at the border - unlike what was happening in England.

Mr Jones said: "If we ever needed proof we are taking the NHS in the right direction here in Wales, we only have to look at what is currently happening in England.

"What the Tories and their Lib Dem accomplices are doing to the NHS in England is ideologically driven.

"Why can't they find within themselves the humility to say - 'we got it wrong?'"

Although the health service is far from perfect in Wales, in recent weeks it has received plaudits from health organisations over proposals to drive up organ donation rates.

By next year, Welsh Government ministers hope to change the system of opt-in, to one of presumed consent.

Mr Jones said his party would also be sticking to its manifesto pledge to protect the Welsh NHS from privatisation.

"Let me state for the avoidance of doubt I strongly believe in accessible, high-quality services for all - not choice for the few," he added.

"Unlike the Tories, we will not dismantle the NHS."

Following his speech, Mr Jones acknowledged the health service in Wales did have its own problems - but his Government was committed to tackling them.

He said: "Historically there is a problem of recruiting doctors further West.

"But we have launched a recruitment campaign to recruit senior members of staff in Wales."

And he said it was fair to draw comparisons between the English and Welsh health services - given that Mr Cameron had publicly criticised Wales' NHS in the Commons recently.

Mr Jones added: "In England, the medical profession is against what is happening. We know that health reform is problematic, as we've seen in Wales.

"But I don't believe what is being proposed in England will result in a cheaper system - it will be more expensive.

"And people won't have a say in the way health service is delivered anymore."

Mr Jones also used his speech to talk up his party's chances in the upcoming Local Government elections as well as sticking the boot into his political rivals.

Talking of his party's former coalition partners Plaid Cymru, he said: "They are in a trough of their own making. Is it any surprise they are the third party in Welsh politics?"

Andrew RT Davies, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the National Assembly, said he found the Mr Jones' claims laughable.

"Instead of constantly sniping about politics in England, the First Minister should start answering for his savage cuts to NHS services in Wales," he added.

"At a time when his own Labour government is threatening to downgrade Accident & Emergency units and local hospitals, Carwyn Jones should answer for Labour's failure to invest in our NHS.

"It is time Welsh Labour Ministers stopped dithering and playing politics and got on with the job of delivering improvements in public services for the people of Wales."

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