Commenting on the Chief Medical Officer's annual report that states that there is still a large gap between the health of the most and least deprived communities in Wales, Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
"The Chief Medical Officer's report rightly brings to the fore the health inequalities that exist in Wales. Welsh Labour has neglected our poorest communities for over a decade and we are seeing the results of this neglect in differing life expectancies across the communities of Wales. Schemes such as Communities First have not made much of a difference to our poorest areas and the Welsh Labour government has run out of ideas as to how to tackle deprivation and poverty.
"While the health service can promote good health, the determinants of health include a host of other issues, such as economic status and level of income. These, in turn, dictate educational achievements and the standard of accommodation that families can afford to live in. These all have a direct impact on life expectancy levels.
"If the Welsh Labour Government does not get to grips with these problems, they will be failing to address social fairness and equality. The ability to live a long and healthy life should not be dictated by your social background or where you live. We should not have these variations within our nation.
"This Welsh Labour government often says that it is a progressive government and that its key objective is social justice. However, the inability to close the large gap that still exists between the health of the most and least deprived communities proves that they are failing on that front."