Health Secretary attacks Labour's NHS record in Wales

Good morning from Manchester. If you're the Welsh Health Minister you may want to look away now.

Andrew Lansley, the (Conservative) Secretary of State responsible for the NHS in England, is about to highlight Labour's record on the NHS in Wales, and not in a gentle way.

Mr Lansley will devote part of his speech to the Conservative conference in Manchester to what is billed as an "attack on NHS record in Labour-run Wales."

He will say: "Don't listen to the absurd inventions of Labour on the NHS, when you can look and see what Labour in power means to the NHS in Wales.

"In Wales, NHS budgets have been cut by over 8 per cent over 3 years. In England, we are increasing the NHS budget in real terms.

"In England, the NHS treats over 9 out of 10 patients within 18 weeks. In Wales, it is barely 7 out of 10.

"Do you know, in Wales, deaths from the infection, Clostridium-difficile, four years ago were the same as in England? Now, they are twice as high as in England. And last year deaths from C-difficile went up in Wales, but fell sharply in England.

"Labour should stop scaremongering about the NHS in England and start adopting in Wales the changes we are bringing in. The people in Wales deserve better."

We are trying to check out the statistics on C-difficile but, for the moment, over to Cardiff Bay, where a Welsh government source says Mr Lansley has said all this before.

An official response is being prepared. In the meantime, here's a reminder of what First Minister Carwyn Jones said about the NHS at Labour's conference last week:

"We are watching with great sadness the mess the Tories and Lib Dems are making of the health service in England.

"An NHS being dismantled by Tory dogma and their obsession with the market. One where waiting lists are running out of control, and where people are still subject to a 'tablet tax' on prescriptions.

"Welsh doctors are telling me they'd much prefer to work in Wales. That's because:

"In Wales, we will not privatise the NHS. In Wales, we will not introduce market principles and competition in the NHS.

"And in case anyone is any doubt, in Wales, free prescriptions are here to stay. The NHS - made in Wales and safe in Wales - under Labour!"

Asking patients rather than doctors might deliver a more accurate assessment of the NHS in each country but I suspect we have not heard the last of this row.