Oh god. Ben Bradshaw again, knocking the Welsh Assembly Government’s policy of booting profiteers out of their health service, something far more popular than flogging bits of the NHS off…
Note that the BBC wrongly reports that he’s the English Health Minister. Mr Bradshaw is English, but he’s a minister in the British government – there is no devolved administration in England, unlike Wales. (Sadly, the absence of an English parliament is not pointed out) Note also that Labour shares power with Plaid Cymru in Wales – Bradshaw is attacking the policies of his own party!
An English health minister who criticised health policies in Wales has returned to the attack.
Ben Bradshaw told a conference the English NHS provided a better service despite spending less per patient than the health service in Wales.
Mr Bradshaw attacked Welsh policies of free prescriptions and free hospital parking again and said ruling out using the private sector was “dogmatic”.
The Welsh Assembly Government said it was “putting the patients first”.
Earlier this year, Mr Bradshaw sparked a row between the assembly and UK governments by saying the money spent on free parking would be better spent on improving patient care.
His keynote speech to a CBI conference on health in London on Thursday threatens to re-open tensions between Cardiff and Westminster.
He told delegates the benefits of the English approach would become clearer in time.
He said he was “fed up” with being told that England suffered from health apartheid “because millionaires in Wales get their prescriptions free or Scotland plans to allow anyone who wants to park in busy hospital car parks for free.”
Mr Bradshaw said: “What about the fact that in England you can get your operation much more quickly, you don’t have to wait for more than four hours in A and E any more and it is easy to see a GP when you want?
“These things matter more to the public. We are already delivering them in England and we have been doing so while spending less per head on health than in Scotland and Wales.”
Responding to the criticism, an assembly government spokesman said: “Devolved government means that each administration is free to pursue its own priorities.
“Mr Bradshaw is entitled to his views.
“Free prescriptions and parking reforms have been widely welcomed by patients in Wales.
“We are putting the patient first and removing barriers to accessing healthcare.
“We see prescription and car parking charges as a tax on the sick.
“Investment in improving access to healthcare will improve the health and well-being of the people of Wales.”
At the Plaid conference this weekend, Adam Price called on Welsh Labour to break free from Westminster. Certainly, at the moment it’s path is leading away from New Labour. If only English Labour would do the same…