Wednesday, 16 September 2009

End of an Era - the NHS

Helen Mary Jones : Tory Government could spell end to NHS as we know it
16 September 2009

As the Plaid Cymru conference begins in Llandudno, Plaid Health spokesperson Helen Mary Jones AM has launch a stinging attack on the Conservative party's plans for the NHS, saying that a Tory win at the next general election would threaten the existence of the NHS as we know it.

With the polls predicting an almost certain Tory victory at the next election, Ms Jones raised serious concerns about the impact that their policies will have on our core health services here in Wales. The Tories' ideological opposition to a free health service would mean private sector involvement and a charging culture within our NHS.

Tory MEP Daniel Hannan's astonishing recent attack on the NHS showed the true colours of the Tory Party when he described the NHS as "a 60-year-old mistake". The attack was closely followed by the publication of a document in which key members of David Cameron's shadow cabinet describe the NHS as, “no longer relevant in the 21st century".

Conservative health spokesperson in the Assembly, Andrew R T Davies, also recently challenged the benefits of the current Free Prescriptions policy in Wales, and supported the re-introduction of charging for medicines.

Plaid Cymru in government has ensured that local hospitals such as the one in Llandudno which had previously been threatened, are now receiving new investment and extra services.

Plaid Health spokesperson Helen Mary Jones AM said:

"Recent comments by high profile Tories have made it plainly clear that they do not like a free health service and they wish to see it become far more dependant on private companies who will want to make a profit from it. The existence of our NHS as we know it, which is so important to so many of us, is now under serious threat.

"We have shown that by thinking differently, Plaid has overturned plans to close and downgrade many hospitals throughout Wales. We have to maintain that 'can-do' mentality in order to continue to improve Wales' NHS. While the Tories have simply written off our NHS, and plan to tear it apart, we will make it work because it is what is needed and wanted by the people of Wales.

"When David Cameron and his private sector pals take over, we will get more big businesses trying to bleed the NHS of much needed funds, and a culture of charging for NHS services.

"David Cameron is now peddling furiously to try and cover-up the dreadful impression his Tory colleagues have left – but nobody should be left in any doubt that our NHS is in very real danger if the Tories get their hands on it.

"Plaid wants to maintain a Welsh health service that is within Aneurin Bevan’s vision – but in the Tories hands, this will be destroyed with their big plans to privatise our health services. There is no doubt that their plans for privatisation in England will have a direct knock-on effect on our NHS finances in Wales – and as a result, will starve our doctors and nurses of the resources they need.

"The people of Wales are not stupid. We can easily see through this Tory doublespeak. Our NHS will never be safe with them.”

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