Column 17th May 2017

It’s a race to the polls again in just a few weeks’ time. Make no mistake about it: this is a two-horse race between Labour and the Tories.

It’s been interesting to say the least to see the Conservative Party falling at the first fence as they stumble over broken promises. I’m proud to say that Labour will step in where the Tories let us all down: we will protect pensioners with the triple lock.

Labour is also the party which will protect the NHS which the Tories have been running into the ground over the border. Wales spends 6% more on hospitals and care compared to England, and it’s the Welsh Labour Government that continued to invest in social care in contrast to the Tories. Investment in social care alongside investment in the NHS frees up more beds.

Recruitment into the NHS remains a challenge as is also now being seen in England. The Welsh Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething went to the RCN Congress in Liverpool to encourage nurses from across the UK and the world to consider a career in Wales. I’m delighted to say that Wales swept the boards at nursing and midwifery awards earlier in the year. The RCNi Nurse of the Year, Community Nurse and Healthcare Assistant Awards were all won by nursing staff from Wales; the RCM Midwife of the Year and the Journal of Health Visiting Health Visitor of the Year were also won by Welsh nurses and midwives.

The Welsh Labour Government has ensured that Wales continues to offer NHS Bursaries for eligible student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in 2018/19 and professional development continues to be supported. Investment in nursing education continues and the number of nurses working in NHS Wales continues to increase year on year. Wales is also the first country in Europe to legislate on nurse staffing areas; empowering nurses and ensuring the resources are in place to care sensitively for patients.

Labour will make sure we continue to have an NHS to be proud of. The UK Labour manifesto launched this week says Labour will commit to over £30 billion in extra funding over the next Parliament. With the Welsh Labour Government working together with the UK Government in Westminster this means more money for our health service in Wales too.

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