Kirsty Williams: NHS needs politicians to work together

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Media captionThousands of patients from Wales travel to Hereford for treatment as it is their nearest hospital

Politicians are being urged to stop fighting over the NHS and ensure the border between England and Wales does not become an "unnecessary barrier" to people wanting good treatment.

It follows a bitter row between the Welsh and UK governments over Labour's running of the Welsh NHS.

But now an English border trust, which treats Welsh patients, is in special measures.

And Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Kirsty Williams has called for unity.

Speaking to the BBC's Sunday Politics Wales programme Ms Williams, who represents the border constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire, said: "Obviously we want all patients whether they're treated in Wales or in England to receive the very best quality of care."

"Powys Local Health Board has very good and strong working relationships with their counterparts across the border," she said.

"Unfortunately that's not replicated by politicians and there is a responsibility on both administrations to work collaboratively to ensure the border doesn't become an unnecessary barrier to people seeking good treatment."

Ms Williams urged the Welsh and UK governments to work together to improve health care on both sides of the Welsh border and to stop using the NHS as "a game of political football".

Labour's running of the Welsh NHS has come under strong attack from Conservatives, with UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt claiming patients in Wales were getting a "second-class" service.

But Wye Valley NHS Trust, which provides cross-border care to 40,000 Welsh patients every year, was placed in special measures following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which found services at Hereford County Hospital to be "inadequate".

The CQC's report said the service provided in the hospital's A&E department "was not always safe" and patients' "privacy and dignity weren't always maintained". Other departments were also found to be "in need of improvement".

The trust said it had already taken steps to address the issues raised by the CQC, including more staff and investment in A&E.

Sunday Politics Wales is broadcast on BBC One Wales at 11:00 GMT on Sunday 2 November

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