Wales

Welsh Labour's NHS record defended by Mark Drakeford

Andrew Neil and Mark Drakeford
Image caption Mark Drakeford defends Labour's running of the Welsh NHS to Sunday Politics presenter Andrew Neil

Health Minister Mark Drakeford has defended Labour's record running the Welsh NHS following a week of sustained criticism from the Conservatives and the Daily Mail newspaper. He was interviewed by Andrew Neil of the BBC's Sunday Politics programme and responded to the main points of criticism.

On cancer treatment

We have an ambitious target in cancer - it is 10% more ambitious than the target in England.

We have record numbers of patients with cancer receiving treatment within 62 days.

We have ambitious targets - we're getting closer to reaching them.

They outperform the system in England every single month and we provide a very good service indeed to cancer patients.

On ambulance response times

Demand for ambulance services goes up all the time. Last month in September the Welsh Ambulance Service conveyed more patients to hospital within eight minutes than before.

But we understand that we're not doing well enough - we've got plans in place to improve it.

There are more things that we need to do and we're determined to do just that.

On accident and emergency admissions

We're in the same position as health services across the United Kingdom that as demand rises and resource stays static, the pressures are real in the system.

We want to do more to reach the ambitious targets we have but nobody should go away with the idea that the big picture of the Welsh NHS is about missing things - actually hundreds of thousands of people every single week in Wales get careful, compassionate and effective care.

We are investing an extra £200m this year and £225m extra next year in our Welsh NHS despite the fact that our budget is cut by 10% by the Westminster government.

We protect the NHS in Wales because we know just how important it is to our patients.

We have protected our social services and our social care system so that they work together with the health system - we have an integrated system here in Wales.

In England they have slashed and burned their way through social services departments - it's why their hospitals are chock full of people who ought to be discharged and there are no services for those people to go to.

On calls for an inquiry

In Wales, as everywhere else, there are real pressures in our health service - we see them every day, we work hard every day to address them.

I will not agree to a backward looking, undifferentiated, timeless, uncosted, unproductive inquiry.

What we do is where we see things that are wrong - and there are things that need attention - we inquire into them, we publish the results, we deal with the consequences of those reports.

There's nothing at all to hide in the Welsh NHS. We are the most scrutinised health service in the United Kingdom - we report on it every single week of the year.

We have independent people inquiring into our NHS ... we published an independent inquiry overseen by very senior people, not from Wales at all, that carried out spot checks unannounced in all our major hospitals, 70 wards across Wales.

They said that the big picture of care in Wales is that it is careful, it is compassionate, and it provides an excellent service for Welsh patients.

On a review by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

We have not pulled out of that - there will be an OECD visit to Wales, there will be a report by the OECD on the Welsh health service, it will be published in full.

What we will not do is fall in with the deliberate distortions attempted to be introduced by the secretary of state in England in which he wishes against all the rules to allow himself an opportunity to quote selectively from a report that will not have been published ... in an entirely partisan, politically-driven way, absolutely consistent with his appalling behaviour over the last week.

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