Letter from Wales: 57% of entire Welsh budget to be swiped by NHS in Wales by 2024-5!

by Julian Ruck

At least according to a report written by Mark Jeffs of the Wales Audit Office.

He goes on, “Until we have a more efficient Welsh Government, which takes more seriously its role as a guardian of the public purse, speculation about future levels of public spending may continue.”

In other words, while the Welsh government continues to drag its knuckles across the floor of the Welsh Senate a right royal crisis is about to hit public services here in Wales. Black bag time again perhaps, except this time it won’t be the unions to blame.

And what was Carwyn saying last week at the Labour conference? Just to remind you, “Wales is a living, breathing example of what can be achieved in power.” It’s back up to Asda’s for another crate of Johnie Walker fast, I’m thinking.

The fact that the Welsh NHS is the subject of such public derision here in Wales, may well have something to do with the fact that we have academics of Welsh history running Health Boards, £655,000 a year on a ‘Cooking Bus’ ie a lorry filled to the brim with high tech cooking utensils intent on teaching Welsh pupils, parents and teachers how to cook, £9m on giving up the fags, exercise classes and mental health first aid (?) but here’s the rub, none of it has had any effect. It’s still corned beef pasties, Welsh faggots peas and chips all the way back from the pub – not to mention a 10 pack of Woodbines to help the journey along!

Even Dr Patricia Riorden, head honcho for Public Health Wales has had to admit and I quote (27.9.13 News Wales) “that we need to look forward to a whole transformational change.” ‘Transformational?’ You have blown millions of taxpayers’ money on causes that would shock a five year old. For God’s sake go! And take team druid with you!

If the above doesn’t stretch your political imaginations try the more serious business of the Public Accounts Committee (Welsh Assembly) for 18th July 2013. It makes interesting if not shocking reading.

The Committee was concerned with the catastrophic, if not fatal, failures in governance at the Betsi Cadwaladr university local health board resulting in the eventual resignation of its chairman one professor Mervyn Jones – I must point out here that professor Jones is a Welsh history academic, former vice chancellor of Bangor university and broadcaster for the Welsh language S4C television channel. Not quite a background in health care or hard-core commercial endeavour is it? Shocking, I think you will agree, but then the Welsh speaking Crachach are a versatile lot if nothing else, and to quote the “father of the Anglo-Welsh’one,” Caradoc Evans, “prejudice, philistinism and sexual guilt” are the foundations of the “Welsh way of life” so what can one say? If nothing else one has to hand it to them, they really do add a new dimension to the word “ubiquitous”, they’ll be taking the shine off David Beckham’s boots next.

Anyway, the Committee concentrated on the thorough melt down in financial management and the extraordinary omission of Welsh Labour’s scrutiny procedures in respect of outcomes and waiting times etc, particularly in respect of cancer care e.g. follow-up appointments not being monitored or tracked, targets not being met and the Besti Cahdwaladr having the highest death rates in Wales.

(Please note here that a request for data in respect of follow-up appointments for cancer treatment in Wales over the last 12 months from the Welsh government’s own press office last week, received the following reply, “…it is not part of routine data collection for the Welsh government.” Nothing like due diligence or god forbid the odd pair of watchful eyes, is there?)

36 patients dying from C-Difficile over the past year, failures to comply with safety alerts (this applies to all 7 Welsh LHB’s), GP’s starting to consider whether they should be advising private medical treatment, and Welsh patients moving to England for life saving cancer drugs because Carwyn and his team of merry men won’t go along with dastardly Westminster health policies.

It is plain obscene.

Professor Jones was of the view that all this turmoil on his watch was down to 2 hour drives (good job he doesn’t live in London), cultural differences between Wales, Liverpool and Manchester and the unique health issues of the local farming community. So one in five people in Wales waiting more than 36 weeks to access life-saving treatment is down to a long commute, Liverpudlians and Mancunians  making too many demands and sheep!

It was also, as usual, all Westminster’s fault.

According to David Sissling director general, health and social services, Welsh government, no evaluations for value for money were being carried out by the board either. No wonder then that said board and professor Jones in particular (but then he might have been concentrating on a book about the Welsh diaspora to Patagonia at the time, so fair play) managed to oversee a state of break- even finances to a projected deficit of 29 million?

Mr Sissling was also of the view that the reason why the majority of operations were postponed or delayed was because of unscheduled care, not because of financial reasons. You try and work this one out because I can’t, apart from concluding that the board were quite obviously incapable of managing the lemon sherbert supplies for a school tuck shop let alone anything else.

And what has been the first minister’s reaction to all this?

He has denied the Betsi Cadwaladr “is an admission of failure,” and his side-kick, the social policy academic now Welsh government health minister Mark Drakeford (I do wish he would learn to knot a tie properly, a Gordon Brown he is definitely not), is “seriously proud of the health service in Wales.”

Such monumental stupidity and arrogance would be hung, drawn and slaughtered in the real world of Westminster politics. So much for devolution, the Welsh “government” can’t even look after its own and as far as I know, this is certainly not what Labour is all about.

PS The appointment of former Plaid Cymru (Welsh home rule army) leader Ieuan Wyn Jones as head of the planned Menai science park on Anglesey has been referred to the Wales Audit Office, as reported on Wales Eye. WAO officials are to examine allegations that Mr Jones is not suitably qualified and that he was also the finance spokesman for Plaid at the time the £10m deal was negotiated with Welsh Labour.

Wales Eye also informs us that outside bodies could be called in to investigate further.

Another Professor Jones perhaps? But look on the bright side, I have no doubt that the two gentlemen can exchange pyramids of erudition on Owen Glyndower’s cod-piece if nothing else!

Yes I know, the epic genius of a Milton or Homer couldn’t make this lot up.

Julian Ruck is an author, columnist and Freedom of Information campaigner. He also makes contributions to both Welsh and national broadcasting and media


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39 Responses to “Letter from Wales: 57% of entire Welsh budget to be swiped by NHS in Wales by 2024-5!”

  1. belowlandsker says:

    This is a very good articly Julian! be warned though, there is a bit of rambling in it and a few spelling/grammatical errors so you should be prepared for about 20 posts from Welsh nationalist(s) with multiple usernames attacking your writing style other than the content (which is irrefutable.. and they know it).

    I dont pay much attention to what goes on in Betsi Cadwalladr I must confess as it would take longer for me to get there than central London. However, I must confess than even I, as somebody who takes a personal interest in the Welsh speaking Cracach gravy train, was amazed by the somewhat lacking credentials of this particular health board’s chairman.

  2. Furthermore ‘belowlandsker’
    last night’s ,SHARP END ITV / Wales with Andrew Masters, and three AM’s discussed these NHS cuts , and with Labour AM getting a pasting from all quarters that lead to a heated discussion of the crisis that will follow inevitably follow , and of a Labour Party in Wales that has mis-managed the economy here for the last ten years bringing our country to it’s financial knees.

    Such an imminent crisis should ,in my humble opinion , clarify political debate in Wales as we stand on the edge of a financial precipice , and not degeneration into childish name – calling as many on this blog invariably seem to do.

    In fact yesterday’s ECHO 03/10 the necessary cuts that will be be made next year in ARTS COMMUNITY leaving ,it was reported , “City groups stunned by cuts of £220,000..”
    Among the places effected will be CHAPTER ARTS , and the SHERMAN THEATRE.

  3. Mr Akira Origami says:

    That could be good news, maybe Mr Abell will divert his attention to lobbying the Senate on behalf of poverty stricken artists in Wales. ( this could effect commissions from the Eisteddfod? – then again that’s the last place any cuts would occur. )

  4. Ed Parke says:

    Julian, why have you chosen to write ‘Senate’? No one anywhere in the world would have any comprehension of what you’re talking about (no change there then). Unless of course this is another miserable attempt to troll people?

    Your lack of basic respect ensures that you will never be taken seriously by anyone. Honestly, how does it feel to be used as nothing more than click bait? Do you really think that Labour Uncut takes you seriously? Have a think about that and write down how it makes you feel.

    And no, I do not work in the Senedd.

  5. £220,000 isn’t even a scratch, bearing in mind that the Arts Council Of Wales receives over £60m pa from the taxpayer – some of it of course, goes on jollies to Washington and Venice (see previous columns).

    Of course, the fact that both Welsh education and health are in freefall has nothing to do with it – note the £29m deficit at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

    £60m would certainly buy a few cancer drugs

    But then this is Wales, so who cares?

    JR

  6. Rhys Jones says:

    On the subject of data collection on follow up appointments, wouldn’t that be done by the Health Boards rather than the Welsh Government? It would mean more FOI requests, true, but that’s where I’d start if I was investigating this. If there’s no one at all collecting the data, though, then yes, that’s extremely bad.

    Also: some data on the ‘freefall’ in education would be good, Julian, as previously discussed.

  7. belowlandsker says:

    Lol ed Parke! As I predicted… along come the feeble attempts to pick on anything other than the actual content.

    Also, in a week where Welsh language fanatics are demanding that Varteg (already a Welsh placename) be changed to an even Welsher name (Farteg) is it really that unreasonable for Julian to use an English word for an institution which is supposed to represent EVERYBODY in Wales but yet exclusively named itself only in Welsh

  8. A correction.

    The taxpayer grant to the Arts Council of Wales is £34M, according to their figures last year.

    Julian Ruck

  9. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Mr Parke

    Your comment suggests interference with the individual’s freedom to use the English language.

  10. belowlandsker says:

    your choice of words is also interesting Ed Parke…. you say “No one anywhere in the world would have any comprehension of what you’re talking about ” in relation to Julian using the word ‘senate’. Surely it’s quite the opposite dont you think? Never mind anywhere else in the world…. I think you’d find more people in central Newport would be able to hazard a guess as to what the ‘Welsh Senate’ is as opposed to the ‘Welsh Senedd’!

  11. Mr Akira Origami says:

    “The real reason for lack of numeracy and English language literacy in Welsh children is strictly down to the imposition of Welsh language by compulsion and the simple fact that when you take away a significant chunk of available teaching time to teach what’s effectively a foreign language to most children in Wales you end up with a disaster as manifested in underachievement in subjects that do matter and should matter to Welsh authorities.

    We have already produced few generations of damaged kids in educational and social terms and this can’t be sustained and as we know most children themselves are not inspired or even interested in the Welsh language.

    If we are going to see more compulsion for more Welsh language teaching the article does not state how is this to be achieved – Are we going to see removal of school teachers who are not capable of delivering the Welsh language curriculum and have them confined to the dole?”

    This was from the most commented news article in Walesonline this morning.

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/row-over-plans-more-compulsory-6137169

    I am worried that the imposition of the Cymraeg language may now be directed towards the NHS in Wales. A minority are intent on destroying our education system, surely they would never be allowed to impose themselves on the NHS in Wales?

    Education doesn’t seem to be important to the majority of the people in Wales – we must take a stance on health…. surely!

    The National Health Service is not an institution for Welsh nationalists!

  12. To Origami,

    I note that Professor Sioned Davies, naturally yet another Welsh academic, is the author of the report. A fully-paid up member of the Welsh-speaking Crachach and alumni of the taxpayer funded Welsh literati.

    She has written yet another tome on the Mabinogion -sub-title ‘Overkill’.

    Her report certainly demands further analysis and scrutiny by a more, shall I say, UK wide audience.

    The subject of my next Uncut column, perhaps?

    Julian Ruck

  13. To Origami,

    Re The Welsh language in the NHS

    Dr Phil White of the BMA, back in May last year, stated clearly that, “Using healthcare money to promote the language is not the best use of that money.” – I am reminded here of the £26,000 of taxpayers’ money used for a NHS Welsh language ap.

    No-one used it.

    He went on, “This would be an additional deterrent to people applying for jobs here in Wales which would have a very adverse effect on healthcare in Wales.”

    Julian Ruck

  14. belowlandsker says:

    I’m embarrassed that this is on the front page of BBC Wales news website today:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-24413722

    in case people outside Wales see it….. but I welcome the threat and hope they see it through. The sooner they go to far then the sooner the general public says enough is enough and the sooner other things are prioritised in Welsh politics.

  15. Mr Akira Origami says:

    We were told the glass walls off the Senate in Cardiff Bay were to symbolise transparency. I must admit I was cynical – not any more.

    It is now quite transparent that Carwyn Jones is becoming nothing more than a dictator and does not listen to the proletariat ( I use this word to distinguish the people in Wales as the poorest class of people in Britain )

    The people of Wales demand an inquiry into NHS Wales but Carwyn tells he has everything under control and an inquiry would a be simple waste of money.

    Mr Jones said “the inquiry in Wales would cost the taxpayer around £1 million – money that would be better spent elsewhere in the health service.”

    How righteous and prudent of Carwyn.

    Lets forget about him spending £52 million on playing the role of the Fat Controller at Cardiff airport.

    If we could use the just £1 million of the £4.2 million that is annually spent on paracetamol in the Welsh NHS budget towards an inquiry, wouldn’t it be money well spent?

    http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/rising-cost-paracetamol-prescriptions-being-5589147

    Even the people of Guernsey are looking at us – Wales is becoming a laughing stock.

    What must they think? – Wales has become so poor it cannot afford an inquiry.

    http://www.thisisguernsey.com/news/uk-news/2013/10/01/welsh-nhs-inquiry-unnecessary/

    If the people of Wales don’t react soon there will be no going back, the Assembly is for the voice of the people of Wales not Fat Controllers.

    Before the Senate start installing Venetian blinds we must demand an inquiry now!

  16. Tafia says:

    Anyone who has a problem with Welsh being taught in Welsh schools or jobs insisting the applicant must be able to speak Welsh will also therefore support banning adverts for teachers, teaching assistants, community nurses, surgery receptionists etc etc in places like Oldham, Rochdale, Bradford, Burnley etc etc where the adverts specify that the applicant must be fluent in a south asian language.

    Many Welsh schools are among the best performing in Wales, many English schools are amongst the worst performing.

    The problems with the NHS in Wales – particularly North Wales – are exacerbated by the simple fact that North Wales ( nicknamed Costa Geriatrica ) is a favoured retirement place for people from England – particularly Greater Manchester/Merseyside, and also a favoured place for drug rehabilitation resettlement (it’s basically keeping the slum HMO landlords in Rhyl, Colwyn Bay etc in business) again from those areas of England. This has produced a distorted population in comparison to other areas that require more per capita health spending because of problems associated with age, drug treatment etc etc. There are also resettlement programmes going on wherby housing trusts & associations are moving ‘no hope’ families from their estates in England into estates in Wales – and again these people tend to have more healthcare requirements than the average.

    Incidentally the ‘Cymraeg’ issue has full support of Welsh Labour and even Caewyn Jones’s kids are taught in Welsh – as he proudly boasts.

  17. To Taffia,

    If I may point out, it is English retirees whose taxes have been keeping Wales on life support.

    Further, as far as I am aware the Welsh are hardly inclined to modesty when it comes to pouring White Lightning on their cornflakes instead of milk.

    Julian Ruck

  18. Mr Akira Origami says:

    The problem with Wales is that the young are leaving, given they have any chance of an education ( because of a minority insisting jobs only going to Cymraeg speakers ) leaving behind an ageing population….

    “Welsh rehab centres ‘face closure’ through lack of clients”

    “Residential treatment centres in Wales for drug and alcohol problems say they are struggling to attract clients.

    Welsh government figures show nearly half the 91 people in Wales referred for rehab last year went to England, despite beds available in Wales”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-16992896

  19. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Bit off topic…

    The Welsh Labour Government (Senate ) will extend it’s membership to the ‘moderately apathetic and incompetent’, overturning a policy that only those regarded as “completely apathetic and incompetent” could join.

    It has been hinted that the policy could be the first step in a series of reforms, which could potentially see membership further extended to include rugby league enthusiasts and the under 5’s.

    However the Senate’s proposal received an aggressively grumpy reaction from Carwyn Jones. There are reports he responded to the proposals by saying: “if we allow in the ‘moderately apathetic and incompetent’, they might make some criticisms of my policies and record in government.

  20. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Mr IEUAN AIR WYN JONES: Head of the Menai Science Park and Leader of the think tank on aviation strategy in Anglesey and North Wales:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-20256836

    Plaid Cymru sources have confirmed that the party’s Assembly Members will abstain when the Welsh Government’s budget is voted on in the Senate. Last year’s deal saw the Liberal Democrats voting FOR the spending plans but Plaid has only agreed NOT to oppose them.
    And although the spending agreed is for two years, Plaid is not committed to abstain next year. Explaining the position, a Plaid source said, ‘ We don’t necessarily support everything in the budget.’

    http://www.itv.com/news/wales/update/2012-11-08/deal-means-plaid-will-abstain-in-budget-vote/

    A very clever way of distancing themselves from the appointment of Ieaun Wyn Jones.

    So the buck stops with Carwyn?

    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/ieuan-wyn-jones-appointment-head-6122323

    Guto Bebb, has said:
    “In the first six months of this financial year Ieuan Wyn Jones, leader of Plaid Cymru and Minister for the Economy at the Welsh Assembly managed to spend only 20% of the business support budget of his department. However, when it came to the opportunity to advertise and promote himself two months before an election he was able to find more than £85,000 of taxpayers funds immediately. I know that Mr Jones and Plaid Cymru have their priorities all wrong. After all, this is the man who refused to support a Business Plan which would have saved 120 jobs at Dolgarrog Aluminium for an investment of £1m but who was perfectly happy to find £800,000 per year to fund an air link from his constituency down to Cardiff. Using £85,000 of taxpayers’ money, which should have been used for business support, to promote himself six weeks before an election is nothing short of shameful”

    Even “The Druid” who “fights for Anglesey” doesn’t have too much support for Ieuan Wyn Jones.

    http://druidsrevenge.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/ieuan-wyn-jones-another-four-years.html

    And a few thoughts from some residents who know this part of Wales – interesting location?

    http://thoughtsofoscar.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/a-fishy-smell-emanating-from-ieuan-wyn.html

    Let’s all wish Mr Jones a happy and prosperous new career after resigning from the Senate……….

    Let us not forget Ieuan Wyn Jone’s legacy as he single handedly forced the referendum on law making powers.

    “I knew that the 2006 plans to give us law making powers with the consent of Westminster were going to be highly problematic. I insisted that a referendum on law making powers had to be one of the cornerstones of the agreement that formed the One Wales government.”

    Mr Ieuan Wyn Jones was dedicated to his anti-grumpiness bill – alas he has left before he could pass it in the Senate…………

  21. Big Clement says:

    Well, this article was coherent.

  22. Mark Jeffs says:

    Hello Julian,

    I’m not going to comment on your article, but do want to point out that the quote attributed to me in paragraph 2 is incorrect. Those words belong to Paul Davies, Welsh Conservative Shadow Finance Minister, not me.

  23. Rhys Jones says:

    Give us data, not your spin. Give us numbers. Give us meat that we can get our teeth into so that we can all see what’s really going on.

  24. John Abell says:

    Regarding julian’s last crappy article, when describing Welsh numeracy and literacy as behind the Czech Republics, Englands is pretty terrible. Way behind http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-24433320?ocid=socialflow_facebook_bbcnews

  25. To Mark Jeffs,

    Thank you for pointing this out. The error of course, is all mine.

    My sincere apologies.

    Julian Ruck

  26. Mr Akira Origami says:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-24433320?ocid=socialflow_facebook_bbcnews

    OECD Survey of Adult Skills 2013

    “This shocking report shows England has some of the least literate and numerate young adults in the developed world,” said Skills Minister Matthew Hancock.

    “These are Labour’s children, educated under a Labour government and force-fed a diet of dumbing down and low expectations.

    Numeracy test 16 to 24-year-olds

    England is 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy out of 24 countries

    Netherlands
    Finland
    Japan
    Flanders (Belgium)
    South Korea
    Austria
    Estonia
    Sweden
    Czech Republic
    Slovak Republic
    Germany
    Denmark
    Norway
    Australia
    Poland
    Canada
    Cyprus
    Northern Ireland
    France
    Ireland
    England
    Spain
    Italy
    United States
    Source: OECD Survey of Adult Skills 2013

    Wales was not in the study, but I assume Welsh Labour’s record in education is even worse with it’s additional wasting time on useless compulsory lessons in a language that the majority see as alien too them.

    So the same study in Wales should take the individual’s average of English and Cymraeg in the literacy test? How would the test work with the bilingualism policy here in Wales ?

  27. belowlandsker says:

    John Abell you are tedious beyond belief! This is about Wales not England!! Is the answer to all Wales’ problems simply to pick on England? Perhaps for impressionable and simple Welsh nationalists it is.

    p.s. at least England is at the bottom of the table! We are not even on it!

  28. crazyhorse says:

    erm…belowlandsker I don’t think John Abell and Mr Akira Origami are the same person, though you are right we should stick to topic. Unless Abel is secretly Origami, in which case these Letter from Wales comment treads are even more odd then I first thought

  29. Mr Akira Origami says:

    To crazyhorse…..

    Yet in the previous Letter from Wales Mr Abell says:

    “Mr Origami, go away! People are trying to have an adult, on topic discussion here”.

    crazyhorse if your analysis on comment threads is correct, do you think Mr Abell is having some sort of internal conflict with himself!

    Should we worry about Mr Abell or your preoccupation with an idiotic theory of comment threads?

  30. Kim Kong says:

    Belowlandsker, if Abell is ‘tedious beyond belief’ for putting your biased nastiness in context, then you are even more tedious for using the NHS along with origami-san to denigrate the Welsh language. Then again, nothing but hypocrisy is excted from such bilious orifices as those belonging to the anti-Welsh, pro-imperialist faction of Welsh society

  31. Mr Akira Origami says:

    To Kim Kong…

    I would describe my self as belonging to the the English speaking community in Wales, who is concerned that there are now people in Wales that are unable to get work because of a small group of lobbyists who are intent on imposing their impractical demands on an idiot that prefers to play the role of the Fat Controller and is, by far, too easily swayed by the druid faction on the “field” at the Eisteddfod.

    How would you describe yourself?

  32. Kim Kong says:

    To origami-san, I would describe myself as a non-adherent to the crazy conspiracy theorism you just admitted to for starters

  33. Kim Kong says:

    Aaah yes… The fact that Carwyn Evans was made a druid, an award similar to (but by no means of the same gravitas as) an MBE means that he is constantly swayed by the Third cymReich to do as they will.

    Come off it, origami-san. Posting a load of links which you wilfully misinterpret does not make you right. It just makes you look more hilariously misinformed. Nice try though

  34. Mr Akira Origami says:

    To Kim Kong……

    Try commenting on the article and put forward your opinion………

  35. Mr Akira Origami says:

    PS

    MBE’s for Cymraeg speakers, at the tax-payer funded Eisteddfod.

    ……and druids can only nominate other druids – cosy little closed shop there.

    I don’t think an award by a bunch of neo-pagans holds much kudos in the real world.

    “Nice try” who-san…..

  36. Tafia says:

    There you go Origami. You try to discredit the claim of England sending it’s drug rehab clients to North Wales by showing reports of in-patients being sent to England because of lack of demand for in-places in Wales.

    What you conveniently forget to mention is that the overwhelming bulk of rehab treatments are out-patients and they are being accommodated from the north west of England in HMOs along the North Wales coast.

    Truy asking the Local Authorites across North Wales – they are ripping their hair out trying to re-home them when they are evicted from the HMOs once they have been there long enough to qualify for residence purposes.

    Nice little third sector earner it is. You house the junkie in a HMO, pocket the housing allowance then once they have lived there long enough evict them and because of their ‘vulnerable person’ status they go straight to the top of the housing lists.

    The resentment this is causing with the resident population who are waiting for housing is immense and some of the local authorities want the residence status increasing to 2 or even 5 years as opposed to the current 56 days.

  37. Rhys Jones says:

    Oooh. ‘An award by a bunch of neo-pagans,’ you think, Mr O. Rigami?

    Giss your evidence, then.

    And when you do, MY are we going to have some fun here 🙂

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