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Monday, 8 September 2008

Would the Welsh NHS be safe in the hands of the Lib Dems?

Having read this article , I feel Jenny Randerson needs to clarify her call for greater use of private finance in the NHS.

The Cardiff Central Liberal Democrat AM and party's Health spokesperson is quoted as saying that if she was to stand as the next leader of the Welsh Lib Dems, then her party should consider how best to use private sector finance to improve the NHS.

The One Wales government has many faults, but at least one positive thing that they've done is to rule out the use of the private sector in the NHS and the use of private finance through PFI projects.

To me, it seems Jenny Randerson's comments are at adds with this and appear to contradict her party's previous statements on the use of the private sector in the running of our NHS. You only have to look over the border to England to see the danger to the public service ethos of our NHS if we are to seek greater use of private sector funding.

If Jenny Randerson seeks to one day lead her party and potentially become the next First Minister, we need to know just what she has planned.


  1. Amen to that, keep PFI's out of our Health Service - don't mortgage our future health

  2. Private sector finance is already being used to pay for healthcare in Wales, or hadn't the BMA noticed?

    If you want to have an operation then you've pretty much got to pay for it yourself!

    My wife had Gastric Bypass surgery in Dec. '06, paid for by ourselves following her removal from the waiting list by WAG. The diabetics, her BMI and High BP greatly improved following this operation, probably added 10 years to her life - £12,000

    Former colleague in his early 50s with arthritic hips in urgent need of replacements; went along to his GP to ask where he was on the waiting list only to be told that he wasn't on the waiting list - the Guy was walking like Douglas Bader! He went to France to have it done - £6,000 per hip.

    As someone with PA, I know that when it comes time to have my Hip Replacement(s) then it will be a case of paying for this service myself; probably following the example of the gentleman above and going to France.

    Do you actually think the NHS in Wales is safe under the guidance of the mandarins in the Bay and the Labour Ministers?

    Gary Lewis

  3. You'll be pleased to have heard about Kirsty Williams' statement today then Richard?

  4. Thanks for your response Gary. I do know that lots of people in Wales end up going dow the road of private health care and paying for it themselves, either through desperation, or out of choice. However, the BMA backs a fully funded health service that is free for everyone, of a standard and efficiency, which makes the need to seek and have to pay for health services privately, unnecessary.

    It was interesting attending the BMA's Welsh Consultants Committee meeting yesterday, where this very matter was discussed. I was horrified to hear the extent to which waiting list targets are skewing clinical priorities, with patients being lost on lists to follow up and particularly where those patients waiting for reviews have appointments cancelled, in preference of new referals.

    Some examples from yesterday suggest that this problem is sometimes leading to life-threatening consequences. This whole area needs to be properly reviewed, so doctors are put back in control of clinical prioritisation of patient referals, if we are to avoid patients missing out.

    The examples I heard yesterday support the experience Gary describes and I am sure sure he isn't alone. That's why we're not in favour of PFI as it simply expands the opportunity for private healthcare provision and gives way to a two-tier health system. And that makes it even more likely patients will end up paying for private healthcare in the future.

  5. I'm glad to see that Richard Lewis has posted the comments sent to him by Jenny Randerson.

    As regards a "health service free to everyone" I very much think the genie is very much out of the bottle, those who can afford to go private and those who can’t but will beg, borrow and steal will also go private, waiting lists are still far too long.

    I still maintain my comments that when it comes to having my hip replacement(s) it will be a case of paying for these myself; I can’t afford the £6,000+ each these replacements are going to cost, but I’m going to have to find the money somewhere.

    As regards my original comments, specifically about gastric bypass surgery, I suggest you speak to Professor Baxter, Morriston Hospital about skewed waiting lists, eligibility criteria etc.

    Gary Lewis


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