Clwyd West MS Darren Millar has hit out at the Welsh Health Minister for suggesting that North Wales Members of the Senedd should be prevented from raising concerns about failings at the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
During a debate on NHS waiting lists in the Welsh Parliament this week, in which members referred to failings in the North Wales health board, the Health Minister urged members “not to talk down Betsi all the time”.
“I think it's really important we're really careful about talking down Betsi all the time because, frankly, it's making it more difficult to attract and recruit people.”
Responding, Darren told the Health Minister “you can’t expect us to have a gagging order from you about not calling out bad practice.”
“We're acutely aware of the importance of praising the good, but shining a light on the bad is equally important. We need honest discussions, and that means calling out when the health board is failing.
“We adore the hard-working staff in our NHS in North Wales. We're constantly praising them. As local Members of the Senedd, we visit local surgeries and hospitals all of the time and have lots of interaction with our health board, but you can't expect us to have a gagging order from you about not calling out bad practice.”
Speaking after the meeting Darren added:
“The staff in our NHS do a tremendous job and I am always the first to champion them, but we would not be doing our jobs properly as Members of the Senedd if we did not challenge and highlight poor performance and bad practice. For the Health Minister to suggest that we should, demonstrates the deceptive way in which this Labour Welsh Government operates.”