PLAID leader Adam Price called out the Welsh Government for a “policy of privatisation”

There has been a dramatic increase in the amount Health Boards have spent on outsourcing to private sector healthcare providers.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price criticised the Labour Welsh government for having a “policy of privatisation” intended to mask long terms structural problems within the Welsh NHS.

Annual reports from each Health Board in Wales shows that spending has increased throughout Wales from £13m in 2010/11 to £38m in 2017/18 – an increase of 260% in just seven years.

Raising the figures during First Minister’s Questions last week, Mr Price said: “It’s well established that the government’s record on NHS waiting times is far from satisfactory. Targets are currently being met in radiology because Health Boards are increasingly outsourced to the private sector.

“Isn’t this a policy of privatisation by stealth as a sticking plaster to mask long terms structural problems within the Welsh NHS?

“The policy of the Welsh government when Carwyn Jones first became First Minister was to phase out the use of the private sector completely by 2011 but spending on use of the private sector has gone up substantially on your Government’s watch. In 2011, it was £14m. Last year it was £38m.”

In response, the Leader of the House, Julie James AM, admitted private sector providers were used in the short term “ to fill off service difficulties”, she said: “Clearly, we have to arrange for services to be delivered in the best possible fashion. Where possible we deliver it by public sector free at the point of delivery but clearly there are some instances where we have to use private sector providers in the short term in order to make sure the service is delivered.”

The report came after both Mr Price and Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards met with health board chiefs.

The representatives took the opportunity to make the case for retaining beds at Amman Valley Hospital, saying enhanced community services should mean the hospital gets more resources, not fewer.

Mr Edwards said: “I’m delighted they recognised the importance of the resources at the hospital. They have met with the local campaign group and have promised to ensure the community will be integral to shaping the future services there.”