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Tuesday, 8 December 2009

You say goodbye and I say hello…..

Rhodri Morgan will formally step down as First Minister of Wales today, and I would like to wish him well for the future.

After 10 years as the Leader of Wales, Rhodri leaves a great legacy behind him. Under his leadership we have seen devolution take shape and flourish, and his commitment to Wales is admirable. Over the last 10 years Wales has remained loyal to the true values at the heart of the NHS. We have gained free prescriptions and free hospital parking, and maintained a clear rejection to the introduction of competition, choice and greater use of the private sector.

The approach to healthcare in Wales has been compared to England by Morgan, as “clear red water”. This rejection of the internal market has become part of Welsh identity. Instead of targets and choice, we invest in community and preventative measures, and in promoting public health.

During the rest of this Assembly I look forward to BMA Cymru working with Wales’ new leader Carwyn Jones, to ensure that Wales is the premier place for doctors to come and train and work.

The recruitment and retention of junior doctors must be high on the Government agenda moving forward. If we don’t have the quality and quantity of doctors, the health service will fail to function. This is a great concern to us and our members.

I hope that he and the Health Minister will work with us to build a health system that delivers better health for the people of Wales. We realise that we are in the middle of a recession, and difficult decisions will have to be made, but it is vital that health is properly funded.

So fare-well Rhodri, and welcome Carwyn, we look forward to working with you.

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