Thursday, October 19, 2017

Passing the buck

Dear Ms Aspin, 
Thank you for your further email of 26 September addressed to Vaughan Gething AM, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport regarding your concerns about the services provided at Pen y Maes health centre in Wrexham.  I have been asked to reply.  
I am sorry that you were disappointed to receive a response from an official rather than direct from the Cabinet Secretary.  Welsh Government Ministers receive a large volume of correspondence and cannot always respond personally.  For this reason correspondents may from time to time receive a reply on the Cabinet Secretary’s behalf from his officials.  However, the Cabinet Secretary takes a close interest in all his correspondence. 
I note your further concerns.  It was explained in our previous response that the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board took over management of the practice in October 2016 and is continuing to explore potential options for the future provision of services.   
In Wales, the Cabinet Secretary has a role to set the strategic direction for health services and hold the NHS to account.  Health boards plan how services are delivered ‘on the ground’ and regularly review these services to ensure they meet the needs of their resident population.  Therefore, the health board will be the most appropriate organisation to contact to provide the specific answers to your enquiry. 
Yours sincerely 
Paul Haynes Government Business Team Health and Social Services Group  

In reply to the second and third emails I sent to Vaughan Gething, this dropped into my inbox yesterday. No more informative and equally 'helpful' as the last reply from him. Obviously, Mr Gething, who is, remember, the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport in the Welsh Assembly, is an extremely busy fellow and hasn't got time to reply in person to the likes of me. The fact that, being Secretary for Health, means that it is his job to be interested in what's going on in the Health scene throughout Wales, seems to have passed him by, and of course, as his constituency is in south Wales, he doesn't rely on us to vote him back in when the next election rolls around.
So, once again, in spite of the fact that I did inform him previously that I have already contacted BCUHB and a great many more bodies and people besides, the official line continues to be, 'Not interested, go and ask them.'
We have now gathered a fair amount of coverage of what is happening in our Health Board and it's all grist to our mill. For example:
  • In BUCHB and doubtless in other Welsh health boards too, directly managed GP practices  get £29 per patient more than GP managed practices.
  • Although the East Area team have assured us several times that they are 'committed to GP managed practices', they also told the recent Scrutiny meeting with the Council that they 'have no intention of putting Pen y Maes out to tender again in the near future'. 
  • They are NOT 'meeting the needs of the resident population', unless you count days with no GPs and a shortage of nurses as meeting our needs.
So the bottom line is that although one of our MPs has become involved and is asking questions, even though Welsh NHS is devolved so he does not have any obligation to do so, Mr Gething, who does have a responsibility (the clue is in your title, you know!), has decided not to bother.

But we're not going away. We're going to keep on keeping on!


Yorkshire Pudding said...

You are like a dog with a bone Jenny. Admirable! Keep on - because it matters!

Jenny Aspin said...

We have to, YP. We deserve a decent standard of healthcare and at present, we don't have that.


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