world : PM attacks Wales NHS waiting times in TV debate

world : PM attacks Wales NHS waiting times in TV debate
world : PM attacks Wales NHS waiting times in TV debate

Wednesday 12 June 2024 10:52 PM

Nafeza 2 world - NHS hospital waiting times in Wales are the “worst in Great Britain”, according to the prime minister.

Rishi Sunak attacked the Labour-run Welsh government’s handling of the health service in the first televised leaders’ debate of the general election campaign.

In a head-to-head with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on ITV, Sunak said people in Wales waited 40% longer for NHS treatment than people in England.

But the Labour leader also criticised the Conservatives’ record on health, saying the NHS in England was in a worse state than it was when they came to power 14 years ago.

Plaid Cymru said the debate was a "Punch and Judy show" and a "Wales deserves better".

Mr Sunak and Sir Keir were making their pitch to voters in the ITV debate, with immigration, the cost of living and the NHS featuring in questions from the audience.

The health service in Wales is run from Cardiff and not from Westminster.

Mr Sunak admitted that the NHS faced "challenges" across the UK, but said people in Wales faced longer waits for treatment, with accident and emergency waiting times "the worst in the UK".

The Labour leader said what had happened to the NHS in England was "unforgiveable" and accused the Conservatives of leaving it in a worse state than they found it.

Sir Keir said waiting lists in England had increased from 7.2 million to 7.5 million people, however Mr Sunak said they were coming down.

Plaid Cymru was not part of the debate but, in a statement, party leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “This Punch and Judy show was a poor advert for politics. It was more clear evidence that the two-party system is way past its sell-by date.

"The only mention of Wales in that painful hour was as a punching bag by Rishi Sunak on the NHS, while Starmer denied his party’s responsibility.

"Wales deserves better than this - because patients deserve to be treated with fairness."

During the debate, the Labour leader said the election on 4 July was a choice between "chaos" with the Conservatives or turning the page with Labour.

The Prime Minister said he would cut taxes, protect pensions and reduce immigration and that the Conservatives have a secure plan for the future.

The BBC is hosting a seven-party debate in London on Friday in which Plaid Cymru will take part.

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