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‘Removing targets will not be a silver bullet in fixing Wales’ NHS problems’- Kirsty Williams

2013 Tachwedd 27 1:07 PM

Responding the Health Minister's announcement that he is looking to review his government's ambulance, A&E and cancer waiting time targets, Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:

"Of course, it is politically convenient for the Welsh Labour Government to scrap targets that they've been incapable of meeting. They are the source of so much negative headlines for them. A&E and cancer waiting times have not been met for many years, while ambulance response times are repeatedly missed.

"If the Health Minister decides to change the targets with a view to improve patient care, safety and clinical outcomes, rather than avoiding bad headlines for the Welsh government, the Welsh Liberal Democrats will, of course, be supportive. The Welsh Liberal Democrats want what is best for the patient, not just a relentless focus on statistics.

"My concern, however, is whether significant changes to targets will make it impossible to compare Wales' NHS to the rest of the UK. While health is a devolved issue to the four nations of the UK, it has always been important to be able to assess how efficiently patients are treated in Wales compared to patients in England and Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Health Minister needs to ensure that will still be possible.

"Wales' NHS has fundamental weaknesses that need to be addressed. While there may be some merit in reassessing some targets, simply changing or removing targets will not be a silver bullet solution that will fix all of Wales' healthcare problems."