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‘Time for Welsh Labour Government to take responsibility for changes to our NHS’ – Kirsty Williams

July 17, 2012 3:10 PM

Responding to Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board's announcement of changes to services at Neath Port Talbot Hospital, including the removal of the acute medical service, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams, said:

"Earlier this month the Health Minister explicitly stated that services at Neath Port Talbot Hospital were not to be downgraded, however we are now being told that the hospital will not have a single acute medical care consultant. If that isn't considered a downgrade, then I really don't know what is.

"The Minister also said that the proposed changes are not about resources, but the Health Board's announcement has stated it is due to the lack of doctors. These mixed messages are not helping matters at all. We all know there is an acute shortage of doctors and consultants here in Wales, even the Health Minister who has somewhat belatedly decided to address the problem with a recruitment campaign. Since the launch of that campaign, the Minister has repeatedly refused to set any sort of measurable targets for progress.

"The Welsh Government needs to show the public why it believes such drastic changes to our health services are necessary. At the moment, the Labour Government is instead pretending that services are not being downgraded. Neither the Welsh Liberal Democrats nor the people of Wales buy this, so why can't the Labour Government be straight with the public and tell us how it actually is.

"The Minister has stated that the bucks stops with her, but still she continues to hide behind the Health Board saying the decision is entirely in their hands. It is time the Welsh Labour Government starts taking some responsibility for the changes it is trying to drive through."