Despite Wales’ Health Minister, Eluned Morgan, announcing more than half a billion pounds of new funding for health and social services in Wales to deal with Covid, Plaid Cymru have voiced concerns that waiting times are now the worst they have ever been, with patients under ‘unbearable stress’ waiting unjustifiably long for treatment or diagnosis.

The Welsh Government stated this week that it has allocated £411m for ongoing costs of dealing with the pandemic until April 2022 and £140m for recovery and tackling waiting times.

Responding to new statistics though that show numbers on waiting lists for non-urgent hospital treatment in Wales have again hit record levels, Plaid’s spokesperson for health and care Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said that these statistics ‘paint a bleak picture’ and expose just how frail the NHS is now.

“Our NHS was already suffering from chronic underinvestment and mismanagement prior to the pandemic. Now, health boards and health and care staff across Wales are crumbling under additional pressure caused by Covid,” he remarked.

“Targets continue to be missed. Waiting times are now the worst they have ever been. And behind these figures are real people – patients – in pain or under unbearable stress waiting unjustifiably long for treatment or diagnosis.

“While any additional funding is welcome, there’s very little clarity on how the £551m will be used.

“And hand in hand with any short-term plan to deal with the developing situation as we head into winter, we need to see from Government a long-term post-Covid plan to tackle long waiting times, prioritise services like cancer diagnostic and treatment, and approach investing in our NHS with the innovation it requires.

“We cannot be trapped in an endless cycle where waiting times are getting increasingly worse and the only solution the Government can come up with is to provide short term fixes which change very little in the long run.

“We owe it to health and care workers to relieve the pressure, to repay them for their commitment in our hour of need, and to give them the support they need to do what they are trained to do,” he added.

Tenby’s county councillor for the North ward (and Plaid Cymru representative)?Clr. Michael Williams has said that local health services continue to suffer, after he underwent what he called an ‘interesting experience of our failing state’ on Friday morning.

“Having tried to get a GP appointment yesterday (Thursday) in Tenby when I was told there were no appointments left, I was told to phone at 8 am today. As instructed I did so precisely at 8 am and succeeded in speaking to a receptionist at 8.22 am, to be told that there were no appointments available today!” he remarked.

“I asked if there were any GPs in the practice today and was told that there were ‘several’. I was then asked was my situation an emergency, to which I replied that it was not.

“I suppose that my only recourse might be to visit a local hospital and further strain an already creaking service there, or wait over the weekend and take my apparently limited chances of getting a consultation on Monday.

“A couple of years ago I had to obtain medical advice in one of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe.

“After taking advice from a pharmacy I noticed a doctors office a few doors away. With some trepidation I knocked and entered and was immediately able to see a GP who spoke perfect English and was prescribed appropriate medication.

“Do we now live in a third world country?” added Clr. Williams.