Around £1.2 billion in extra funding for Wales’ public services may not be ring fenced for health spending, it has emerged.
The revelation came during First Minister’s Questions, and follows an announcement by the UK Conservative Government that NHS spending in England is set to rise by around £600 million a week by 2023-24.
Challenged today in First Minister’s Questions – Carwyn Jones refused to confirm that the Welsh Labour Government would ring fence the additional funding for health and social care.
The NHS in England is to get an extra £20 billion a year by 2023 – funded, in part, by a “Brexit dividend” according to the Prime Minister. With the Welsh Government in line to receive £1.2 billion in Barnett Consequentials.
Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies, was highlighting concerns over access to prostate mpMRI cancer scans in Wales – and urged the First Minister to commit to ring-fencing the funds, to end Wales’ postcode lottery in diagnosis.
Today, Prostate Cancer UK has published their map on access to prostate mpMRI cancer scans, which showed huge variation across the UK in terms of access to this type of diagnosis method.
Whilst there had been significant improvement across England and Scotland, Wales has some of the worst access to this revolutionary type of treatment than anywhere else in the UK.
Speaking after FMQs, Mr Davies said:
“The UK Government has announced a significant cash boost for the NHS in England, and we want to see the Welsh share of that investment being ring fenced for health and social care – not wasted on Labour’s pet projects.
“Sadly, this government is the only administration in the UK to have ever cut the NHS budget and the First Minister’s refusal to commit this spending speaks volumes.
“Just this week Prostate Cancer UK published data to show that Welsh patients are still being denied access to screening and diagnosis in revolutionary new treatments, and we know that Wales’ diagnostic services are struggling to cope with demand.
“The Prime Minister’s announcement of extra cash for the NHS means that we can put that right here in Wales, and it is vital that the First Minister commits to ring fencing this money.”