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Volume 747: debated on Wednesday 13 March 2024

6. What discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the adequacy of healthcare services in Wales. (901889)

As my hon. Friend knows, healthcare is devolved to the Welsh Government, who have received record funding to deliver on their devolved responsibilities. They receive 20% more funding per person than is received for comparable services in England. Despite that extra money, more than 24,000 patients in Wales have been waiting more than two years for treatment. The number of people waiting more than two years for treatment in England, which has roughly 20 times the population, is around 200.

Last month, fewer than half of red calls were answered by the ambulance service in Labour’s Wales within the necessary eight minutes. That is the Leader of the Opposition’s blueprint for government. Does my right hon. Friend agree that, instead of campaigning for more politicians in Wales, Labour should focus on delivering the health services that the people of Wales thoroughly deserve?

I completely agree with my hon. Friend. I had to make a 999 call for an ambulance for my father-in-law at 11 o’clock one morning, and it arrived at 4 o’clock the following morning. My father-in-law then had to wait for another six hours in the back of an ambulance outside an accident and emergency unit. The Welsh Labour Government had built industrial fans in the ambulance bays to waft away the diesel fumes. That is totally unacceptable. They are cutting the NHS budget in Wales by around £65 million, yet they can find £120 million extra for more politicians in Cardiff Bay.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, the right hon. Member for South Northamptonshire (Dame Andrea Leadsom), has announced an extra £200 million of spending for dentistry. I have repeatedly asked her whether that is in the English budget or additional, in which case it would produce a Barnett consequential, but all she could say, repeatedly, is that it was additional. Can the Secretary of State for Wales tell me whether the extra £200 million for dentistry in England will produce about £10 million extra for Wales, or will it produce nothing at all? Perhaps he does not know, either.

As a result of the Budget, around £170 million extra will go to Wales. The hon. Gentleman knows that Wales receives around 20% extra to deliver healthcare, and it is therefore absolutely appalling that the Welsh Labour Government are unable to deliver the same services that are supplied in England. It is interesting; Labour claims to be the party of the national health service, but where are Labour Members? They are not standing to ask a supplementary to this question, because they are ashamed of the healthcare that they have delivered in Wales. Let this not become a blueprint for the rest of the United Kingdom.

A 90-year-old constituent of mine spent 31 hours in the back of an ambulance outside the Wrexham Maelor Hospital waiting to be seen. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which serves north Wales, is responsible for 80% of the preventable deaths in Wales. Does the Minister agree that the Welsh Labour Government, who run the NHS there, are putting lives at risk?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise concerns about the level of healthcare being provided to her constituents. Shockingly, when the independent commissioners at the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board raised serious concerns about more than £100 million being misspent, the Welsh Labour Health Minister called them in and sacked them. No wonder we are not getting the right level of healthcare in Wales.

The Secretary of State and other Tory MPs bring up a litany of health issues in Wales, but Barnett consequentials are a result of health spending and need in England. Have the UK Government ever made any spending decisions on need in Wales, such as in health, and then funded England, Scotland and Northern Ireland as a consequence of Welsh need? He might find that a strange question, because UK decisions are always made on the basis of England’s need and other people get money as a consequence, which is why Wales is never going to catch Ireland for as long as Wales is in the UK and not independent. Is that not so?

The Holtham review looked at what Welsh needs were and calculated that Wales needed an extra 15%. The UK Conservative Government then provided Wales with an extra 20%. The question still stands: why have thousands of people in Wales been waiting for more than two years for treatment, given that the Welsh Labour Government have been given more money than they need to properly fund the health service in Wales?