Speeches recovered from the Conservative party’s online archive More…

Morgan: A health service for all in Wales

Speech to the Welsh Conservative Party conference in Cardiff.

"Ladies and Gentlemen. It is wonderful to see such a well attended Welsh Conservative conference returning again to our capital city and may I take this opportunity as a Cardiff AM to extend a warm welcome to you all.

I count myself very lucky. I have had for the last 4 years the honour of being our party's shadow health spokesman, in leading our attack on the shining beacon of failure that is this Labour Assembly government.

I also have arguably the greater honour of working alongside the most talented team in the Assembly who are not just in opposition for the fun of it, but there to prepare for government.

Our Conservative team has time and again shown itself to be the hardest working, most effective and above all, the only credible alternative to the incoherent socialist dogma we have all suffered from Rhodri Morgan and co. for too long.

It is no accident that this hard work and dedication from the Welsh Conservatives has brought results.

From forcing Labour's hand on nurse led walk-in centres, to ditching tuition fees for Welsh students and securing a long overdue review of cancer services, we have had the direction and leadership from the outset to punch well above our weight.

In our Assembly leader, Nick Bourne, we can all be proud that we have a First Minister in waiting.

A man who I am proud to call a personal friend, Nick has made the greatest contribution to Welsh Conservatism and our fight back from the wilderness.

The Health and Social Services portfolio is a unique one. It is the only area of Assembly competency which has forced the sacking of a Labour Minister, but who was rewarded for her dubious efforts and remained in the Government.

Sadly, Jane Hutt's replacement has proved a worthy successor to her record.

A man who, after arguing for over an hour that the Welsh Ambulance service was doing just fine, proceeded to press the wrong button and vote with opposition AM's for a public inquiry into the serious failings of the service.

With this record of button confusion and in the interests of world peace, might I suggest that this man is not made the next Secretary of State for Defence.

The past 8 years have been witness to a variety of disasters and horror stories for the NHS.

Nursing staff facing an increasing number of violent attacks from patients and relatives, an average of 22 every day in Wales

Deficits, now at over £120m despite the billions of pounds of your money being spent

Waiting lists longer than anywhere else in the UK, and those patients rushed off to England, treated by non UK doctors finding their treatment so substandard that the work has had to be redone.

Infection rates of MRSA and C-Dificile super bugs higher than ever before with many people leaving hospital far worse than when they went in, and in some cases not leaving hospital alive

An Ambulance service in crisis because of a lack of investment, with fire engines having to transport critically ill patients to hospital because there are no ambulances

Tax payers money and opportunities wasted by a government which has no regard for the position of responsibility it was given by the people of Wales

Just like in the 1970's, Labour have let us down again. We all remember the grand promises.

24 hours to save the NHS…

An end to hospital waiting lists…

Free home care for the disabled? Remember that one?!

Last week Rhodri Morgan claimed that Wales was a Labour country.

This is the extent of the arrogance of Welsh Labour that we have faced for so long.

Their belief in the divine right of governance makes Charles I look like a progressive democrat!

Its not easy sharing a surname with the First Minister, I keep having to remind people that it wasn't me who let down our armed services by not going to the D-Day commemoration.

The NHS, is our number 1 priority. Full stop.

Not just now for this election, not just until the next Assembly election.

That promise is for good.

Where Labour have ignored the challenges and buried their head in the sand, we will be bold in cherishing the NHS as it is cherished by the people of Wales

Where Labour have shown so little support for the plight of those on waiting lists and for those who work in the NHS, we will support our hospitals as they are so fiercely supported by the people of Wales

And we will free our NHS from political interference to give doctors and nurses the ability to provide the healthcare needed by the people of Wales.

In my constituency campaign and right across Wales, the NHS is the issue that people care about the most, the one institution in whose hands we place ourselves and families in times of need, and in whose care we rely on the dedication of our doctors and nurses.

We have already announced exciting commitments to demonstrate how serious we are in our support for the NHS.

Halting Labour's ill thought out hospital reorganisation plans

An end to the postcode lottery in access to medicines and care

Funding for the children's hospital

Nurse led walk-in-centres

Modernisation of the ambulance service

Clinicians and patients in the driving seat and not the politicians

And a NHS which is less bureaucratic, more streamlined, more flexible and innovative. This party is not afraid to take difficult decisions about how services are planned.

I fully accept that change is difficult but if you want an NHS that is managed in the most effective and efficient way then difficult decisions are what we must face.

I said we were serious in our support for the NHS. It is often said that if you cherish something then you should use it, but with today's NHS a lot more is needed.

For if we truly value what the NHS stands for then it's not just a question of using it, we must remove those stumbling blocks which get in the way of what the NHS is about.

Labour care about committees, lengthy decision making, jobs for their mates, no one knowing who in the health service is really responsible for which bit.

Conservatives care about patients and our medics, for our ambulance staff, and yes those managers struggling to meet the over burdensome government targets.

If I am Minister for Health after May then I promise you this:

We will be radical and bold, but with the aim of sustaining what the NHS means to each of us.

We will be supportive, though not interfering; recognising that patients, doctors and those who run our hospitals know best.

We will invest in front line care, not back room committees.

And above all, we will continuously remind people of our support for what the NHS stands for.

Free at the point of use and available to all.

That is our plan, that is what we are here to do.

However, there is an election to win first. I will leave you with a rather familiar warning.

With our green credentials in mind, if Labour win on May 3rd, will the last person to leave Wales please turn off the light."

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech