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It is a pleasure to follow Luciana Berger, and I pay tribute to all her work over many years on mental health. The need for investment in our NHS across the UK has never been so crucial, and I pay tribute to the Welsh Government’s innovation and passion in preserving and investing in our Welsh NHS and to all those who work in health and social care not just in my constituency, but right across the country.
Public health decisions should be made based on the health needs the people of this country, not on private profit. The past decade has been incredibly tough, and Tory austerity has continued to bite hard, but the Welsh Labour Government have set an example to follow. They have been able to meet their commitment to invest more per head in health and social care services than in England. The NHS in Wales still operates based on the needs of those who rely on it and has not been offered up to private companies. I understand that a third of contracts have been awarded to private providers since the passing of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, but the Welsh Labour Government have stayed true to NHS principles, leading the way in contract reform, investment in community pharmacies, social care and much more.
Under the Welsh Labour Government, the Welsh NHS is leading the way in many areas, with ambitious targets and investments, such as keeping prescriptions free of charge for those who cannot afford the English prices of the medicines they need, maintaining a bursary for those studying to become healthcare professionals, making new advanced drugs available to patients after an average of just 12 days, compared with 90 days in England, and much more.