Monday, April 02, 2007

Warped Priorities

More NHS shame in Wales. A constituent, living near Llanidloes, in Montgomeryshire has lost her hearing. A Cochlear implant would give this young woman (around her mid-twenties) her hearing back. Her consultant tells us that Wales in the only UK country where the NHS refuses to pay for these implants, which I am told would cost around £32,000. Her consultant has described Health Commission Wales' treatment of my constituent as "outrageous" and "cruel" and her treatment as akin to that of a "third world country".

Ironically, I received a copy of the consultant's letter on the day that prescription charges were abolished - costing the NHS in Wales well over £32 million.

Ah well! That tells you something about Welsh Labour's priorities. Apparently its OK to give free prescriptions to the 15% of the population which was paying for them - and leaving a talented and dynamic young lady (and thousands like her) without treatment that would be available in England and Scotland.


Left Field said...

It's very worrying how often I agree with you.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that we wouldn't still be paying £6.85 and this young woman STILL be denied her cocular implant.

One hospital I've worked at used to have a whole floor of consulting rooms. They are now all offices for administrators. The trusts just seem to have carte blanc to spend the money on what they see fit. Could this be the reason that with 3 times the NHS spending nothing is much better than in 1997?

This report in the Torygraph also reveals some of the more loopy NHS spending.

The question is, would a Tory administration make this operation available on the NHS, and will they reintroduce prescription charges? I believe the Tories abstained on the vote to scrap them ?

Glyn Davies AM said...

Don't worry left field. You are not alone. Lots of former anti-Tories are finding our common sense approach to politics where we are doing our damnest to put people first a bit disconcerting.

Whether an incoming government reverses a previous government's decision is a tough one. Generally speaking, I am not in favour of reversing policy unless it is seriously wrong in principle. This would just lead to a sort of ping-pong system of government. Universal provision is not wrong in principle - just unwise as a resourse allocation decision. Ido think that prescription charges could be re-introduced in a few years time if underfunding of the NHS in Wales as compared with England became a dominating issue at some stage in the future - but not in the next Assembly I think.

Alison said...

The Welsh Assembly has just earmarked some more funding for CIs:

I live in Llanidloes (Deaf), and I would like funding spent in this area for BSL/English Interpreters. Would like to know why the £2.7 million allocated by the Welsh Assembly, none of this money is being spent in Powys. The adverts have included every county in Wales, but this one. I'm told, because we are a rural area. Does that mean that Powys shouldn't get funding for roads, schools etc either?

My nearest interpreters are currently Wrexham and Cardigan, perhaps Telford.