The race to 'save' our hospitals

Labour launches its North Wales manifesto in Old Colwyn today with great fanfare and eleven pledges.

Pledge number one: "Guarantee the future of Llandudno Hospital."

So, is this the end of the long-running saga which has already begun to dominate the campaign in the marginal seat of Aberconwy?

Well, it might be, if it were clear what the pledge actually means. Llandudno hospital has long been earmarked to lose acute medical and coronary care services and in-patient breast surgery services. It is a hospital threatened not, as I understand it, with closure, but with downgrading.

This downgrading is the result of a document called 'Designed for North Wales' which claims to set out the health service framework for the next 20 years. It is a document which, in plenary as recently as 21 March this year, the Health Minister claimed to support:

"The key priorities for North Wales are in line with 'Designed to Deliver', and are the outcome of the document 'Designed for North Wales'. That document proposed a consolidation of mainline hospital services at the three main district general hospitals in north Wales, and at Llandudno General Hospital, along with the provision of new hospitals at Porthmadog and Holywell."

So, one reading of today's pledge might be that it actually backs up what the government has been saying all along. Llandudno hospital may have a future, but there's nothing in Labour's pledge to suggest that future won't be in line with the approved framework; the very same plans which have caused so much unrest.

UPDATE: Health Minister Brian Gibbons has since added that "Plaid Cymru's constant refrain that Llandudno Hospital, the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Withybush Hospital, Glangwili, Prince Phillip and even Prince Charles hospital are facing closure or downgrading is irresponsible and most importantly completely untrue." I'm sure we'll get further clarification later, but at this moment it seems difficult to marry the position of Brian Gibbons on April 3rd with his position two weeks earlier.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 12:04 am,

9 Comments:

At 2:20 am, Blogger sanddef said...

Sounds to me like they're not even trying to win the election. Roll on next Thursday's opinion poll!

 
At 12:08 pm, Blogger Ted Jones said...

Congratulations on an astute understanding of the situation. most journalists fall for Labour's spin on this - for example when you see the dispicable sight of Labour AMs campaigning against the local implementatin plans of policies they voted through in the Assembly.

The most interesting thing for me is that the whole Labour election strategy is in complete chaos. They have spent a whole year talking up the Tory bogeyman yet now they have launched their campaign with a full frontal attack on Plaid. Game on as they say!

 
At 12:18 pm, Blogger Marcusian said...

Ted,

In all fairness, Labour doesnt half take some FULL FRONTAL attacks itself, so it is game on indeed...

And i would argue that Plaid and the Tories are not exactly different bogey men to the people of wales as both will be in government together if they have a chance...

 
At 2:06 pm, Blogger sanddef said...

And i would argue that Plaid and the Tories are not exactly different bogey men to the people of wales as both will be in government together if they have a chance...

There's nothing stopping a Plaid Labour coalition either, except that Labour doesn't like working with socialist parties...

 
At 3:40 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a start to an election campaign. 4 candidates on Radio Wales shouting at each other about an obscure hospital in North Wales. Don't they realise that for most people in South Wales where most of the population lives Llandudno is somewhere north of Kabul. As for Rhodri arguing that Labour is on a roll perhaps we should be asking what is he putting in that roll!

 
At 4:22 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although it will be quite painfull, I think that maybe Labout should get another term in office. I foresee that in the next year or two....the wheels will come off Brown's economic charriot. 'Welsh' labour will have had another few years of non-performance.....and maybe Plaid, will have a leader willing to really take on the opposition like Salmond does. I maybe wrong and IWJ surprises and the time is now.....!

 
At 4:24 pm, Blogger sanddef said...

Don't they realise that for most people in South Wales where most of the population lives...

I think you'll find that most of the people in North Wales live in North Wales, and we get two votes each as well.

 
At 4:26 pm, Blogger sanddef said...

Although it will be quite painfull, I think that maybe Labout should get another term in office

Sounds to me like political Sado-Masochism.

 
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