Wales politics

Welsh NHS is political football says nursing union

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Media captionNurses are demoralised by the political attacks, says Tina Donnelly

Politicians must not use the health service as "a political football", the director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales has said.

Tina Donnelly said political point scoring over the state of the NHS has left nurses "demoralised".

It comes as the Conservative UK health secretary renewed his attack on Labour's handling of the service in Wales.

But the Welsh health minister said he was focused on improving the Welsh NHS.

"Wouldn't it be superb to have the political parties actually agree what their strategy is as a collective for the NHS?" said the RCN leader, Ms Donnelly.

"That effectively would take it out of manifestos."

The nursing leader made the call in comments to BBC Wales' Sunday Politics programme.

'Weaponise' comment attacked

The Welsh minister Mark Drakeford responded: "I completely agree with Tina Donnelly.

"My focus is on improving the Welsh NHS, not criticising the English NHS."

But Mr Drakeford's stance does not appear to be mirrored by Westminster politicians.

UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt attacked Mr Miliband for allegedly saying he wanted to "weaponise" the NHS - something Mr Miliband has refused to deny.

The Sunday Times also reports that 105 patients had signed a letter to the Labour leader Ed Miliband, accusing him of "turning a blind eye" to the state of the NHS in Wales.

Sunday Politics is on BBC One Wales at 11:00 GMT.

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