Open letter to Welsh party leaders - Commit to fight for our NHS

Pictures of the Welsh party leaders

6 May 2024


Vaughan Gething, Welsh Labour leader

Andrew RT Davies, Welsh Conservatives leader

Jane Dodds MS, Welsh Liberal Democrats leader

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Plaid Cymru leader

Anthony Slaughter, Welsh Green Party leader

Dear Welsh party leaders,

The NHS in Wales is in crisis. 

And as families, young adults, grandparents and patients from all across Wales, we are writing to ask that you pledge today that you will fight to protect our NHS. 

Our Welsh NHS is our number one priority at the next general election and we are asking you to make it yours too.

NHS Wales’ situation is dire, with an emergency motion to declare a health emergency in Wales only narrowly defeated earlier this year. Channel 4’s analysis of the worsening crisis in our Welsh NHS is heartbreaking. 

As of January 2024:

  • 755,443 people in Wales were waiting for treatment and checks on NHS Wales, with over 242,000 waiting for more than 36 weeks
  • As of February 2024, 9592 patients waited for over 12 hours in A&E, and the key 4-hour A&E target continues to be missed with just 68% of patients being seen in under four hours
  • The number of patients per GP has risen steadily over the last few years, making it more difficult for people to see their GPs, especially affecting people in rural areas
  • An intolerably large number of patients who may have deadly conditions are being forced to live with the fear of the unknown while waiting for tests or to begin treatment

The Welsh government is investing more money into the service and has just succeeded in preventing a strike by NHS doctors, but nowhere near enough is being done to build up capacity so that patients can be seen more quickly in the NHS.

In the meantime, private healthcare companies are benefiting from the struggles of our NHS. We know the problem of NHS privatisation is not as endemic in our Welsh NHS as it is in England, but the recent passage of the Health Service Procurement (Wales) Act 2024, which brings Wales’ procurement regime closer to that of England, is a cause of huge concern.

Increasingly, NHS boards are supporting private sector companies to establish health facilities, such as the new kidney dialysis centre in Bridgend, which will be owned by a company called Fresenius Medical Care.

Furthermore, the Royal College of Nursing in Wales has decried the over-reliance on private agency staff, with over £320 million spent on agency staff in 2022. 

There are many good things too. Wales has done a better job, than England, of keeping the Welsh NHS faithful to its founding principles - publicly funded and delivered.

Also, whereas England repealed the Health Secretary’s legal duty to provide health services in 2012, Wales retained this duty.

Wales’ NHS has so much to be proud of.

The NHS across the UK ranks among the most efficient health systems in the world and was ranked number 1 in overall performance by an international panel of experts at the Commonwealth Fund in 2014. What it needs is not privatisation; it needs the right investment.

That is why we are asking you today to take We Own It’s Pledge for the NHS

By taking the Pledge for the NHS, you are committing your party to:

  1. Fight for proper funding from the UK government of £2.5 billion more per year for Wales (£40 billion for the whole of the UK) to catch up with comparable European countries (according to Health Foundation).
  2. End NHS privatisation in Wales and bring services outsourced to for-profit companies back into the NHS when their contracts end (to end this wasteprotect patients and save lives).

Please write to We Own It at to let them know whether you and your party will sign up to the Pledge for the NHS.

We are grateful for your time and we hope to hear the good news of your support soon.

Kind regards

878 people in Wales have signed this letter and it has been delivered to the party leaders listed.

Pictures of the Welsh party leaders

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Garybrown replied on Permalink

Anything about us, without us, is against us.’

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