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Bourne: Labour's health record will be their downfall in 2007

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"First, I would like to say what this debate is not about: it is not about the amount of money that is being spent. I emphasise the word 'spent'. The Government talked about investment. There is enough money being spent in the health budget, but it is the proper use of that money that is in question.

I suspect that it is here that I differ very much from the Minister and from Helen Mary Jones. What a fascinating glimpse we had into the Plaid Cymru health larder when she spoke and outlined her party's policy, insofar as she did. I thought that Rhodri Glyn Thomas was perhaps distancing himself from that slightly. However, this debate is not about the amount of money that is being spent.

Last week, we had a seminal moment that made one feel that the Government has lost all touch with reality. I do not want to be a party-pooper, but that moment was Rhodri's little party, which Brian shared, to celebrate the success in tackling the waiting lists.

This party was held when we have 100,000 people on waiting lists, many of whom have been waiting for two years—a year on the out-patient list and a year on the in-patient list.

Goodness only knows how you can think that that is something to celebrate with a few brass hats who run your local health boards, because it certainly is not.

If the Minister had invited the Royal College of Nursing and the British Medical Association, that indignation might have been something other than synthetic.

The Royal College of Nursing knew nothing of this until it was told about it by our health spokesperson on Tuesday. That is a fact. If you want to withdraw what you tried to put on the record, I am happy for you to do so.

I will return to the facts. You, the Minister, were adorned with a badge of 'no redundancies', when I saw you last week. I hope that that will be a reality when some of these trusts, including Cardiff and the Vale NHS Trust, which are now talking about cuts relating to doctors and nurses, come forward with their proposals, I suspect that that badge will come back to haunt you.

We are talking about a cumulative debt of £100 million by April 2007 in the health service under Labour, and we are talking about growth in administration and cuts in front-line services. When you said that you could not comment and that you could not debate the mid and west Wales health proposals, I also found that somewhat synthetic.

When you later said, almost in the same paragraph, that you thought that these were courageous proposals, I was reminded of Bernard telling Jim Hacker on Yes, Minister, 'Isn't that very courageous, Minister?'. They are courageous proposals in that sense, because they will make cuts in the health standards and the quality of life of thousands of people in mid and west Wales.

I hope that you will have nothing to do with them but I suspect, from your response so far, that you will have too much to do with them.

We remember them being previewed by Jon Owen Jones, who, when he was in the Welsh Office, came up with similar proposals to those that we see now. Therefore, we know that the Labour Party's heart is in these proposals even if some Members who represent that area are, for understandable reasons, distancing themselves from them.

Therefore, of all the areas for which you are responsible in devolved terms, this is the one that has been the most dire, disastrous and despicable. There have been previous candidates: you have lost the quality hallmark of perhaps the best economic development agency throughout the whole of the United Kingdom in the Welsh Development Agency; you have messed up the arts council by bringing it in under political control and effectively sacking the chairman; you have made a mess of the Welsh language and the Welsh Language Board; and you have raised council taxes by 60 per cent.

However, of all those areas, this still stands out like a beacon as the biggest disaster of all for the First Minister and the Minister for Health and Social Services—who now seems to find it a laughing matter. However, it will come back to haunt you when people vote on this issue next May."

"Yn gyntaf, hoffwn ddweud beth nad yw'r ddadl hon yn ei drafod: nid yw'n trafod faint o arian gaiff ei wario. Pwysleisiaf y gair 'gwario'. Soniodd y Llywodraeth am fuddsoddi. Mae digon o arian yn cael ei wario yn y gyllideb iechyd, ond defnydd priodol yr arian hwnnw sydd dan amheuaeth.

Yr wyf yn amau mai dyma lle'r wyf yn anghytuno'n fawr iawn â'r Gweinidog ac â Helen Mary Jones. Dyna gipolwg hynod a gawsom i mewn i gwpwrdd iechyd Plaid Cymru pan siaradodd hi, gan amlinellu polisi ei phlaid, i'r graddau y gwnaeth hynny. Tybiais efallai fod Rhodri Glyn Thomas yn ymbellhau oddi wrth hynny ryw fymryn. Fodd bynnag, nid faint o arian sy'n cael ei wario yw testun y ddadl hon.

Yr wythnos ddiwethaf, cawsom ennyd o oleuni a wnaeth i ddyn deimlo bod y Llywodraeth wedi colli pob cysylltiad â realiti. Nid oes arnaf eisiau difetha parti neb, ond parti Rhodri oedd yr ennyd hwnnw, gyda Brian yn ei rannu, i ddathlu'r llwyddiant wrth fynd i'r afael â'r rhestri aros.

Cynhaliwyd y parti hwn a ninnau â 100,000 o bobl ar restri aros, llawer ohonynt yn aros ers dwy flynedd—blwyddyn ar y rhestr cleifion allanol a blwyddyn ar y rhestr cleifion mewnol. Dyn yn unig a wyr sut y gallwch feddwl bod hynny'n rhywbeth i'w ddathlu gydag ychydig o bwysigion sy'n rhedeg eich byrddau iechyd lleol, oherwydd yn sicr nid mater dathlu mohono.

Pe bai'r Gweinidog wedi gwahodd Coleg Brenhinol y Nyrsys a Chymdeithas Feddygol Prydain, gallasai'r dicter hwnnw fod yn rhywbeth heblaw synthetig.

Ni wyddai Coleg Brenhinol y Nyrsys ddim oll am hyn hyd nes dywedwyd wrtho amdano gan ein llefarydd ar iechyd ddydd Mawrth. Mae hynny'n ffaith. Os hoffech dynnu'n ôl yr hyn y ceisiasoch ei roi ar y cofnod, yr wyf yn hapus ichi wneud hynny.

Dychwelaf at y ffeithiau. Yr oeddech chi, y Gweinidog, wedi'ch addurno â bathodyn 'dim colli swyddi' pan welais chi yr wythnos ddiwethaf. Gobeithiaf y bydd hynny'n realiti pan ddaw rhai o'r ymddiriedolaethau hyn, gan gynnwys Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Caerdydd a'r Fro, sydd yn awr yn siarad am gwtogi ym maes meddygon a nyrsys, ymlaen â'u cynigion.

Yr wyf yn amau y daw'r bathodyn hwnnw'n ôl i'ch poeni. Yr ydym yn sôn am ddyled gronnus o £100 miliwn erbyn Ebrill 2007 yn y gwasanaeth iechyd dan Lafur, ac yr ydym yn sôn am dwf mewn gweinyddiaeth a thoriadau mewn gwasanaethau rheng flaen. Pan ddywedasoch na allech roi sylw ac na allech drafod cynigion iechyd y canolbarth a'r gorllewin, cefais hynny braidd yn synthetig hefyd.

Pan ddywedasoch yn ddiweddarach, bron yn yr un paragraff, eich bod yn meddwl fod y rhain yn gynigion dewr, fe'm hatgoffwyd o Bernard yn dweud wrth Jim Hacker ar Yes Minister, 'Isn't that very courageous, Minister?'. Y maent yn gynigion dewr yn yr ystyr hwnnw, oherwydd byddant yn gwneud toriadau yn safonau iechyd ac ansawdd bywyd miloedd o bobl yn y canolbarth a'r gorllewin. Gobeithiaf na fynnwch wneud dim â hwy ond yr wyf yn amau, o'ch ymateb hyd yma, y bydd gennych ormod i'w wneud â hwy.

Cofiwn gael rhagolwg ohonynt gan Jon Owen Jones, a gyflwynodd gynigion tebyg i'r rhai a welwn yn awr pan oedd ef yn y Swyddfa Gymreig. Felly, gwyddom fod calon y Blaid Lafur yn y cynigion hyn hyd yn oed os yw rhai Aelodau sy'n cynrychioli'r ardal honno, am resymau dealladwy, yn ymbellhau oddi wrthynt.

Felly, o'r holl feysydd yr ydych yn gyfrifol amdanynt dan delerau datganoli, dyma'r un a fu fwyaf enbyd, trychinebus a ffiaidd. Cafwyd ymgeiswyr blaenorol: yr ydych wedi colli dilysnod ansawdd yr asiantaeth datblygu economaidd orau, efallai, yn y Deyrnas Unedig gyfan, sef Awdurdod Datblygu Cymru; gwnaethoch draed moch o gyngor y celfyddydau drwy ddod ag ef dan reolaeth wleidyddol a diswyddo'r cadeirydd i bob pwrpas; gwnaethoch smonach o'r iaith Gymraeg a Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg; ac yr ydych wedi codi'r dreth gyngor 60 y cant.

Fodd bynnag, o'r holl feysydd hynny, mae hwn yn dal i sefyll allan yn amlwg fel y trychineb mwyaf oll i'r Prif Weinidog a'r Gweinidog dros Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol—sydd yn awr, fe ymddengys, yn ei weld yn destun sbort. Fodd bynnag, daw yn ôl i'ch poeni pan fydd pobl yn pleidleisio ar y mater hwn fis Mai nesaf."

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