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The Tories have been working very hard on their campaign against NHS Wales; shame they don’t have a brilliant health service in England to hold up in comparison.
Twitter lit up around teatime yesterday (Thursday) with allegation after allegation about the service in Wales – for example, that one in seven Welsh patients are on waiting lists, including more than a thousand (if memory serves) for more than a year.
Yr Obdt Srvt countered by pointing out that Mrs Mike had to go to NHS Wales-arranged hospital appointments twice last week; on both occasions she was seen promptly and received appropriate treatment immediately.
All right, came the response. What about the appalling record of the Welsh Ambulance Service, which remains unable to reach all of its emergency calls within the mandatory eight-minute deadline?
The response should be obvious: How many of those patients died? They didn’t have an answer for that. It seems that the health of the patient is of less concern to the statistic-keepers than the speed with which they are attended. The situation conjures up images of Mussolini’s (fabled) Italy in which the trains all ran on time and you can imagine a Tory-run NHS Wales report right now: “None of the patients survived the journey to the hospital but the ambulances were all punctual!”
In fact, even if the Tories had been able to dredge up an answer, they would have been trumped. Yr Obdt Srvt has friends who work in the ambulance service and it just happens that, only a few days ago, one of them told us proudly how they had been working in a team who had arrived too late to stop the patient’s death – and had then brought this person back to life.
(As an aside, it was pleasant to be addressed by members of Conservative Central Headquarters, by the Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies, and by the Welsh Conservatives’ official Twitter accounts while debating the above issues (and others). Either Vox Political is going up in the world or they had nothing better to do than argue the toss with a small blog site. If you’re a Tory, try to work out which of those alternatives is least embarrassing for you!)
So, before criticising hard-working ambulance crews who have to negotiate gridlocked city centres, miles of winding country roads, and sometimes both – and are still expected to do it all within eight minutes, just take a moment to thank them for the amazing feats they can perform when they do arrive.
Wales isn’t like England. The terrain is different and the service is intentionally under-funded by the Westminster government, which has been cutting its grant to the Welsh Assembly ever since the Conservative Party came into office on the back of Liberal Democrat collusion.
As for the service in England itself – well, you’ve seen the image of Lorna adorning the top of this article. Have a listen to the following YouTube clip; it’ll tell you all you need to know about public feeling on that account!
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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