Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Pot black meets Welsh Questions

As a special treat for all, Prime Minister's Question Time is preceded this week by half an hour's worth of questions to the Secretary of State for Wales.

Paul Murphy and his deputy Huw Irranca-Davies have few executive responsibilities, but found themselves put on the spot today as proxy representatives of the Labour/Plaid Cymru Welsh Assembly Government.

Tory David Jones wondered why from this month Welsh patients are expected to wait a combined total of 44 weeks, compared to 18 in England.

Labour MPs pitched in to make the point that patients from North Wales should continue to have access to NHS hospitals in north-west England despite moves to treat more Welsh patients within Wales. (A committee of Welsh MPs returned from hospitals on Merseyside this week raving about the facilities).

Plaid Cymru's Hywel Williams found himself defending the Labour-led Assembly Government, arguing that those arguing for stronger links with England have yet to come to terms with devolution.

Question Time was certainly livelier than usual, but anyone watching on television may have spotted Labour backbencher Stephen Pound playing a mock game of snooker using a crutch borrowed from his colleague Paul Flynn.

1 comment:

hafod said...

What ignorant MPs don't realise is that, prior to devolution, waiting lists in Wales were *longer* comparatively than they are now.

And they should also talk to clinicians, who will tell them that 95% of Welsh patients are treated within the English waiting time limits. Not good enough, but far from the "double" I see quoted at times.