Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle tells Ann Clwyd to stop denigrating the Welsh NHS
UPDATE 4.49pm: This afternoon Ann Clwyd responded to Ms Neagle's attack, saying she would be happy to speak to the Torfaen AM.
She said: “I do not want to get into a slanging match with members of the Welsh Assembly though I do want to correct some misinformation. Lynne Neagle is clearly unaware of the extensive private correspondence and meetings I have had with the First Minister and Minister of Health over several months and the detailed evidence I made available. I would be happy to meet with her to explain the concerns which are shared by many about NHS Wales.
“I will continue to raise my concerns until the crisis facing NHS Wales is satisfactorily addressed. Today I released new figures from the House of Commons Library which reveal record waits for Welsh patients requiring basic diagnostic tests – and huge contrasts with the position of English patients. The figures show a worsening position over recent months for MRI scans, CT scans, and ultrasound, echocardiography and other essential procedures for the diagnosis of serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease.”
UPDATE 3.15pm: Lynne Neagle has reiterated her criticisms of Ann Clywd in a statement to the Argus.
She said: “In the 15 years I’ve been an AM I’ve campaigned consistently on the NHS and fought vociferously to pursue my constituents concerns. I have never, ever shied away from raising difficult issues with the Welsh Government and will continue to do so on behalf of my constituents. As I said yesterday, any poor care in the NHS is unacceptable.
“However, Ann Clwyd has consistently and repeatedly criticised the NHS in Wales without providing the evidence to the Welsh Government back up her complaints. She has also not taken up the offer to meet with the Health Minister to pursue her concerns. Ann should work with the Welsh Government to address any concerns and not consistently make generalisations which are really damaging to the vast majority of NHS staff who do a fantastic job in difficult circumstances. Since yesterday I’ve e-mails from NHS staff from up and down Wales thanking me for adding balance to this really important debate.”
Her comments came after criticism of her stance from Tory shadow minister for health Darren Millar, who said: “This was an appalling and grossly insensitive outburst aimed at someone whose sole aim is to improve NHS patient care."
12.05pm: A VALLEYS Labour MP recognised for her work on health service complaints was attacked by a party colleague in the Assembly on Wednesday.
Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle said Ann Clwyd was denigrating the whole Welsh NHS, saying she wished the Cynon Valley MP would stop it.
The attack was dubbed completely unnecessary by the leader of the Welsh Lib Dems, saying she has every right to voice her concerns.
Ann Clwyd was named Welsh Politician of the Year in 2013 following her review on health service complaints.
She was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron after she spoke out in the House of Commons about how her husband died a hospital in Cardiff like a “battery hen”.
On Wednesday she said told the Commons she would “think very carefully” before giving any further powers to the Assembly, expressing concerns for people in Wales where health is devolved.
Later that day Labour's Ms Neagle said in the Senedd: “We’ve all had cases of problems with poor care and that is unacceptable.
“But I do not believe it gives Ann Clwyd the right to denigrate the entire Welsh NHS without the data and without the evidence to back it up, and I wish she would stop it.”
She had launched the attack during a Tory opposition debate on whether there should be an independent review into Welsh hospitals that have higher than average mortality rates.
Earlier in the debate she accused the Tories of being "the nasty party, back in full flow, highjacking a legitimate public debate about standards in our NHS here, for their own political ends”.
Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams, said: “No organisation should be put on such a high pedestal that it is beyond criticism.
"Ann Clwyd, who only recently conducted a review into the NHS, has every right to voice her concerns about healthcare in Wales. To make personal attacks on her is completely unnecessary.”
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