More Welsh NHS services are being outsourced to a private company, revealed Plaid Cymru Chief Whip Rhun ap Iorwerth, deputising for Leanne Wood during First Minister’s Questions.
Dialysis services in Wrexham Maelor are due to be privatised “under First Minister Carwyn Jones’s watch” he said, with £700,000 of savings coming from “staff entitlements to sickness pay, holiday pay and pensions”.
The discussions are thought to involve the outsourcing of the service to a private company such as ‘B Braun Avitum’, which already runs the dialysis services in Ysbyty Gwynedd and Alltwen.
The service could be transferred to a private company within a matter of weeks and is out for tender through the Welsh Government’s “Sell2Wales” procurement notice. Under the privatisation plans, staff are outsourced to a private company and are no longer entitled to NHS-level terms and conditions.
Rhun ap Iorwerth pointed out that a two tier health system was growing under the Labour Government, with patients being encouraged to consider paying for quicker treatment or diagnosis because of long waiting times.
Speaking after FMQs, Rhun ap Iorwerth said:
“It’s extraordinary that the Labour First Minister of Wales is allowing creeping privatisation of NHS services under his watch.
“Labour’s 2016 manifesto pledged that the ‘NHS will be modernised but not privatised’, but given this example of privatisation and the recent winter crisis, it seems to be more a case of ‘privatised but not modernised’.
“It’s also becoming clear that unduly long waiting times are creating a two-tier health system, where those with the ability to pay are able to have operations within a reasonable timeframe, but those relying on the NHS face long waits that could potentially affect their final health outcomes.
“This is not about ideology, this is about ensuring that providing Welsh patients with the care that they need is the priority rather than allowing private companies to make a profit by picking away at important NHS services. It’s also about protecting hard-working staff, who are already in a stressful job, facing reduced terms and conditions.
“It’s time the Welsh Government came forward with a long-term plan for a sustainable Welsh NHS.”