A “self-congratulatory” statement by Labour’s health minister in Wales “does not bear reality to the working conditions of NHS staff”, according to the Senedd Conservatives.
On Monday, Baroness Morgan released a statement celebrating over one billion items of PPE being issued by the Welsh Government.
However, it will not make comforting reading for doctors and nurses. Dr David Bailey, Chairman of the British Medical Association (Western Mail, 15 September) that one of the reasons NHS Wales is currently under such immense pressure is “inadequate personal protection equipment”.
Dr Bailey continued: “Some doubly vaccinated healthcare workers are still having to isolate due to treating vulnerable patients and not having sufficient equipment such as higher-grade respiratory masks to stop the spread of the virus.”
It comes after weeks of bad news for the Labour-run NHS Wales, which recently recorded its worst ever A&E waiting times, second worst ambulance response times, and longest ever waiting list, with one-in-five people in Wales waiting for treatment.
It has led to accusations from Welsh Conservatives that the lack of a winter plan for the NHS has put workers at a disadvantage as the season draws in. Such a plan has been published on an annual basis and was available this time last year.
However, Labour ministers are resisting building one for the winter of 2021/22.
Responding to the statement, Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said:
“This self-congratulatory statement does not bear reality to the working conditions of NHS staff, as we are hearing medical experts say there is the PPE is not good enough.
“This is having a dramatic consequences as it further circulates the virus, affects staffing levels, leading to burnout among those who can still work but without providing great enough capacity to deal with patients swiftly.
“Sadly this statement is another distraction from huge problems in the Labour-run NHS and that won’t change if ministers do not strategise to change that. A winter plan is not for decoration but a blueprint to address the current shortcomings that are leading to backlogs and shortages.
“The Welsh Government refused to declare an emergency in the ambulance service. It is refusing to publish a winter plan. The first step in solving a problem is acknowledging there is one. I see no sign of that from ministers right now.”