Wounded Soldiers Waiting up to Nine Months for Treatment on Labour-Run NHS Wales

Wounded Soldiers Waiting up to Nine Months for Treatment on Labour-Run NHS Wales

Wounded soldiers returning from Afghanistan have had to wait up to nine months for treatment on the NHS in Wales.

The Sun on Sunday says that at least 100 troops have been stuck on waiting lists, with those acquiring orthopaedic operations the worst affects.

Senior officers are so concerned about the delays that Surgeon General Air Marshal Paul Evans called for Welsh personnel to be moved to England for treatment during a meeting of a joint health and defence ministry board.

The NHS is Wales is run by the devolved government, currently a Labour Party administration.

Alun Cairns, who serves as Member of Parliament for the Vale of Glamorgan, an area with a strong military presence, blasted the long waiting times, calling them a “scandal”.

He told the BBC: “A soldier living or based in Wales is not getting the same treatment as those that are based in England. It’s not good enough for my constituents, it’s certainly not good enough for the army, but over and above all, it undermines the military covenant.”

Mr Cairns said that under the covenant, it is “written into law” that servicemen should have “prompt and efficient treatment”, which will be “amongst the best in the world.”

The MP added that this is not happening in Wales. A Welsh government spokesman told the BBC: “It is inaccurate and totally misleading to suggest military personnel in Wales are waiting longer than the rest of the UK.

“Discussion at this meeting was actually around issues experienced when military personnel and their families transfer to other parts of the UK as part of their military career and then enter a different health care system.

A spokesman for British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said that Mr Hammond “backs the surgeon general in moves to get soldiers access to NHS treatment.”

Local Liberal Democrat Kirsty Williams spoke this weekend on the subject of numerous Welsh NHS scandals: “These headlines might hurt our sense of national pride,” she said, “but we must not forget, it is Labour that is Wales’ weak link. Labour is holding us back, Labour – the weight around our nation’s neck.”