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Letter to Carwyn Jones

September 22, 2010 3:53 PM

Dear Carwyn,

My concerns about the Health Minister knowingly misleading the Assembly

Yesterday, during First Minister's questions, you confirmed that you expect all your ministers to conform to the Ministerial Code of conduct, which states that:

It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to the Assembly, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead the Assembly will be expected to offer their resignation to the First Minister;

Ministers should be as open as possible with the Assembly and the public, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest

As you know, on the 30th March, in reply to a written question, the Health Minister stated:

'The McKinsey commission has resulted in a process not a publication and therefore there is no formal document for scrutiny'

On 15th June, in another answer she stated, 'there is no McKinsey report'.

I now have a copy of a report, commissioned by your own Health Minister, written by McKinsey and Company.

The document makes serious criticisms of your government's leadership of the NHS. It states that WAGs strategic objectives are 'too numerous and not prioritised so none or the wrong objectives are implemented' and that your own government's strategies are 'financially unaffordable', 'lack accountability' and that there is 'a lack of capacity to deliver' them.

It is clearly in the public interest that the recommendations made by McKinsey to improve the NHS in Wales are put in the public domain, not least to help address one of the most serious criticisms in the report, namely the 'lack of accountability' for your objectives. Indeed, a remarkably similar document, which is called 'the McKinsey report commissioned by the then Labour health minster in England has been put into the public domain by the Westminster Government.

Your Health Minister said that there is no McKinsey report but I have a copy. She said there is no formal document for scrutiny ' but again, I have a copy. The suggestion by your official spokesperson that this is not a 'report' but a 'document' is at best a flimsy defence that will not fool the people of Wales. Call it what you will, it is now clear that your minister has suppressed a document of critical importance to the NHS in Wales in order to cover up the criticism of her own leadership of her department.

Yesterday, in First Minister's questions, you refused to explain why your government has suppressed this report and failed to address any of the criticisms of the Labour-Plaid government's stewardship of the NHS in Wales. You also failed to defend your Health Minister.

Your government must take responsibility for its actions and failures and it is wholly unacceptable that Assembly Members and the people of Wales have been misled by the Health Minister.

Whilst I am less than comfortable that it is the First Minister who appears to be the final arbiter in these matters, I ask you now, formally, to consider whether the Minister has knowingly misled the Assembly.

Yours sincerely,

Arweinydd Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru

Leader, Welsh Liberal Democrats

Kirsty Williams AC / AM