Election 2015 Wales

Election 2015: Bevan would be 'turning in grave' over NHS

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Media captionMr Hunt said the devolved Labour government's policies were a 'travesty'

NHS founder Aneurin Bevan would be "turning in his grave" if he saw the way Welsh ministers run the service, the UK government's Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.

Mr Hunt called the devolved Labour government's policies a "travesty" of the founding principles of the NHS.

Although health is devolved, the relative performance of the service in Wales and England is an election issue.

Responding, Labour said the Tories had "dismantled" the NHS in England.

Mr Hunt was election campaigning for the Conservatives in Newport.

He told BBC Wales: "We have people actually going across the border to stay with relatives in England, renting houses in England because they can't get access to the latest drugs.

"That is a travesty of the founding principles of the NHS, the NHS that was founded by a Welshman who would be turning in his grave, frankly, if he could see the way that Labour have been running the NHS in Wales."

Prime Minister David Cameron famously described Offa's Dyke as a line "between life and death" in a speech in Llangollen last year.

For its part, Labour accused Conservative ministers of engaging in a "war on Wales" and telling a "tissue of lies" about the Welsh NHS.

On Wednesday, Mr Hunt added: "What's happened in Wales is that they chose to cut the NHS budget, the result is people in Wales wait twice as long for an urgent ambulance, they wait twice as long in A&E departments than they should."

Image caption Vaughan Gething said Mr Hunt had come to Wales simply to 'talk down' the Welsh NHS

Labour Deputy Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething accused the Conservatives of implementing a "disastrous £3bn top-down reorganisation of the health service in England, which has dismantled the national health service which Bevan founded and which the public holds so dear".

"People in Wales continue to have access to evidence-based treatments for all conditions - not just cancer - which have been approved for use in the NHS by both the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group," he said.

"We continue to invest millions in new and innovative life-saving treatments every year in Wales, despite a £1.4bn cut to the Welsh budget by the Tory-led UK government."

Accusing other parties of using the NHS as a political football, Plaid Cymru health spokeswoman Elin Jones said: "Plaid Cymru MPs will use their influence in a hung parliament to secure an additional £1.2bn a year to invest in our public services.

"This will address the chronic underfunding of Wales by successive Westminster governments and will enable us to invest in vital services such as the NHS."

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