The English and Welsh NHS comparisons

In today’s debate on the NHS in Parliament I asked Labour why they only wish to talk about England’s NHS when we are in the run up to a UK election, and why they do not explain the poorer performance of the Welsh NHS over waiting times and A and E. The following figures illustrate the differences:

Waiting times
To start treatment Wales 13.7 per cent of patients waiting more than 26 weeks.[1]
England 12.5 per cent of patients waiting more than 18 weeks.[2]
A&E Wales 19.0 per cent of patients waiting more than 4 hours in December 2014[3] England 10.2 per cent of patients waiting more than 4 hours.[4]
Diagnostic and therapy services
Wales 31.0 per cent of diagnostic patients were waiting more than 8 weeks.[8] England 1.2 per cent of diagnostic patients were waiting 6 weeks or longer at the end of November.[9]

Ambulance Responses (category A calls)
Wales 56.9 per cent of ambulances arrived at the scene within 8 minutes.[10] England 71.8 per cent of Red 1 & 68.4 per cent of Red 2 ambulances arrived on the scene within 8 minutes.[11]


  1. Old Albion
    January 21, 2015

    The Labour party along with almost all Westminster politicians wish to carry on with the pretence that there is still one NHS.
    And the SNP have now stated they will vote on changes to ENGLAND’s NHS if they believe it will give them additional funding.
    This is a scandal that cannot be ignored. They have no moral right to vote on our health legislation and it’s time their parliamentary right was removed.
    The need for an English Parliament grows daily.

    1. William Gruff
      January 21, 2015

      Old Albion:

      … The need for an English Parliament grows daily …

      Not so. The need for an English Parliament has grown not one whit since September 1997. All that has grown is the clamour for one.

      In the years following 1997 I was often described as a ‘nationalist’, in scathing tones, for advocating one. Now I find myself lectured on the need for one by those who once told me one was not necessary. We English shan’t have what we want until those of us still sleeping, or too stupid to see the need, are given a very stiff (hit in the ed) wallet. To that end, a Hungarian refugee – Scotch British coalition government of England is an urgent necessity and therefore desirable)

      The need now is as great as it was in 1997, which was as great as it was in 1707.

      Those of us working for an English Parliament are in the happy position of knowing that one is inevitable and we need do nothing, except vote as we please on the day, as long as we don’t vote Conlaberal. We can’t lose, in the very long term. In the short and medium term, however, we are in deep deep trouble.

    2. Jerry
      January 22, 2015

      @Old Albion; “The Labour party along with almost all Westminster politicians wish to carry on with the pretence that there is still one NHS.”

      I seemed to recall both Labour and Tory members mentioning the Welsh NHS quite a few times during the course of Wednesday on the floor of the House, and not only within the “NHS” debate, whilst both the Scottish and NI NHS services were also mentioned to, so quite were Old Albion gets this idea that “almost all Westminster politicians” from escapes me – true, the Labour party do not want to highlight the mess in Wales but then the Tories do not want to highlight the mess within England, whilst both wish to highlight the failings of the other, it’s called part-politics with three months to the GE campaign!

      1. Old Albion
        January 22, 2015

        If there were genuine recognition of the fact there are now four NHS’s. Surely non-English constituency MP’s would be prevented from voting on the English NHS. Just as the English MP’s are prevented from voting on the Scots/Welsh and N.Irish NHS. But they aren’t. Because Westminster is TRYING to keep up the one NHS pretence.

    3. fedupsouthener
      January 22, 2015

      Couldn’t agree more. Not only do we have to bow and scrape to the EU but we now have Sturgeon and co daring to tell us what to do. They should stick to dictating to Scots and keep out of English affairs. Note, they are only bothered because they think it will get them something for nothing.

  2. Margaret Brandreth-J
    January 21, 2015

    Why do you think the performance isn’t as good in Wales John?

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    January 21, 2015

    Perhaps it was because this was a debate in the Commons about the NHS – not an election debate – and in your wisdom you MPs have devolved the running of the NHS in Wales from Westminster to the Welsh Assembly.
    Was it only 2 days ago that you were complaining of Labour that: “This language is designed to politicise the NHS”?
    You must be very thick skinned.

    1. William Gruff
      January 21, 2015

      Brian Tomkinson:

      Our host is thick skinned, however he is not a numbskull.

      In plain language, Labour MPs devolved health to Wales and Labour MPs are planning to use the British government’s record on undevolved health in England to maintain their electoral base in the little nations of the ‘united’ kingdom by drawing attention away from the failure of the governing parties in those countries to run their devolved health services as efficiently as that in England.

      It’s difficult to understand but it does make sense. I agree with you, again, that Dr Redwood – the Hon Dr J Redwood, MP, formerly the Rt Hon Dr J Redwood, MP – is thick skinned (Why else would he publish so many assaults on his intellect and reputation, and those addressing him plainly?) but he is not an idiot, which is what I think you meant.

      Thick skinned certainly, thick headed demonstrably not. Give the man some credit.

      1. Brian Tomkinson
        January 22, 2015

        William Gruff,
        Please refrain from putting words in my mouth. If I had thought our kind host was an idiot I should have said so; such a thought has never crossed my mind. I was merely pointing out, and you apparently agree with me, that he has a very thick skin which allows him to claim to be against Labour politicising the NHS and then 2 days later doing precisely that himself.

        Reply I am certainly not weaponising the NHS, but surely I and others like me have a right to explain the facts about the relative performance of the Welsh and English NHS when Labour is seeking to exploit politically every shortfall in England?

      2. Mondeo Man
        January 22, 2015

        Brian – Thick skinned maybe, but it is so easy to forget that each of us has… feelings…. *lights dim and stringed orchestra strikes up*

        ….nothing more than feelings,
        Trying to forget my feelings of love.
        Teardrops rolling down on my face,
        Trying to forget my feelings of love.

      3. William Gruff
        January 22, 2015

        Oops. I see that you are still the Rt Hon. I should have checked that before submitting the comment. My apologies.

  4. Mondeo Man
    January 21, 2015

    Mr Redman hears the debate on the NHS and thinks “You know what ? Labour are doing a crap job on the NHS – I’m switching to Conservatives this general election”

    Mr Blueman hears the same debate and decides otherwise “… I’m going to switch to Labour this election.”

    We all know it doesn’t happen like this.

    So why not just ignore the polls and the debate and just do what you think is the right thing to do during your term of office ? Stand on your record on election day. We don’t really care what tit-for-tatting goes on in ‘The Bubble’.

    The NHS is a tax-sapping mess whichever part of the country we look at… and did I mention the ever faster population growth ? With too few clever people to fund or run things well, because we an unselective immigration policy and, in fact, exclude qualified people from the Commonwealth ?

  5. Ian wragg
    January 21, 2015

    Labour only want to talk about NHS England the same as CMD only wants to talk about the economy. None of the Liblabcon want to talk about immigration, EU or any contentious subject dear to the great unwashed. I see the traitor Major is pushing the line that we’re all becoming pro EU despite the opposite being true.
    It’s going to be an interesting election

  6. English Pensioner
    January 21, 2015

    They don’t want to talk about it for exactly the same reasons as they don’t want to talk about immigration, because they were the root cause of the disastrous situation.
    They’d rather talk about the Hinchingbrooke Hospital Hospital at Cambridge, which was handed over to a private company to run following incompetent NHS management leading to effective bankruptcy. The private company has now pulled out following an adverse report, which according to Labour shows the failure of privatisation.
    The Mail, however, reports that every single person on the various committees that produced the recent report is opposed to privatisation in any form, the doctor who led the team being a member of the “No to Privatisation” campaign. No wonder the public no longer believes any of these reports and feels that none of these inspections are achieving anything worthwhile.
    I hope some MP is enquiring into what happened.

  7. outsider
    January 21, 2015

    Dear Mr Redwood, Thank you for the details. You and others have made such comparisons before and they are well made. But they do not seem to have convinced the public.
    I note that a Guardian ICM poll finds that the NHS is the biggest concern of voters and that Labour is far better trusted than your own party on this matter. The poll may be tainted (I do not know the questions) and the moment of the snapshot is of Labour’s choosing but I doubt if these findings are the opposite of the truth. And most people have long forgotten that the Conservatives pledged to exempt the NHS from real spending cuts and Labour did not.
    If you have the figures, it would be interesting to know what has happened to the percentage of GDP spent on the NHS since 2009/10 and to ask the party leaders, especially Labour’s, what percentage they think it should be.
    Given current public opinion, Welsh Labour would doubtless claim that its NHS has been deliberately starved of funds by Westminster and that sort of political gaming seems plausible unless definitively refuted. For instance, some might claim that the privately run Hinchingbrooke Hospital was deliberately starved of funds by its hostile local commissioning group.
    Have the massive savings and simplification promised by Mr Lansley’s reforms actually been nade and can this be proved? Did NHS purchasing of privately provided services accelerate markedly under the last Labour government as one of your backbench Commons colleagues claimed and what has happened since?
    The quality of debate on this issue is poor. For instance, my local Labour Party keeps telling me that the Conservative MP “backs NHS privatisation” on the basis that he abstained on the second reading of a somewhat obscure Labour private members Bill.

    Your government may well have an excellent case on the NHS but is currently losing the argument. Is this mere incompetence or do they really think their case is weak?

    Reply Mr Cameron and Mr Hunt regularly set out the numbers of extra doctors and nurses and the reduction in the number of administrators which the reforms have brought.

  8. ChrisS
    January 21, 2015

    Put simply, Miliband has no answer to the NHS issue. It’s all bluster and lies as are most of his policies.

    A classic example is the £1,600 families are supposed to be worse off under the coalition.

    How can he ignore the reduction in income tax payable, particularly in the case of the low paid ? His assertion could be put down as a deliberate deceit but in fact it’s downright lying.

    1. Jerry
      January 22, 2015

      @ChrisS; “Put simply, Miliband has no answer to the NHS issue. It’s all bluster and lies as are most of his policies.”

      From were I sit, in a true blue Tory area, nor does the Tory party – the service around here is even worse now than it was before.

      “A classic example is the £1,600 families are supposed to be worse off under the coalition. How can he ignore the reduction in income tax payable, particularly in the case of the low paid ?”

      Assuming that they are earning enough to even pay tax in the first place, what ever the supposed inflation rate is the prices in the shops tell a different story, the only relief for them of late has been the reduction in crude oil prices that is starting to filter slowly through to energy prices etc.

      “His assertion could be put down as a deliberate deceit but in fact it’s downright lying.”


    2. Lifelogic
      January 22, 2015

      Reductions in taxation! – Well for a very few perhaps generally a huge increase especially in VAT, the removal of child benefit and personal allowances for many, 28% CGT and failure to increase IHT allowances even by inflation.

      Take home pay has indeed declined hugely over the Coalition administration mainly due to the complete mess Labour & Brown left. Much of the blame however still lies with Cameron. His failure to cut the state down to size, his increases in endless daft regulations, his pushing of over expensive green crap energy laws, his 299+ increases in tax rates to levels that are far too high (even just for maximum revenue).

      Above all his total failure to sort out the benefits system for in and out of work claimants to give real incentive to work. Meanwhile we still have generally fairly dreadful and deteriorating public services in health and education.

  9. agricola
    January 21, 2015

    This is all Yahboo , my dad’s bigger than your dad, playground banter, in the run up to the May election.

    Have you noticed that Nicola Sturgeon of SNP has declared that her kilted hoard intend voting on English matters in the H o C after she trounces Labour in May. I suggest you get it sorted and keep her Gerrymandering north of the border. As usual nothing has been done to stop this nonsense despite all the talk. Typical CMD way of dealing with difficult questions. His office carpet must be bulging skywards.

    1. William Gruff
      January 21, 2015


      Stop whining that no one has done anything and start doing something for yourself, like thinking and voting.

      1. DaveM
        January 22, 2015

        I get you, WG, but what difference does voting make on issues like this? Lab and Con will sell the English to the Devil to keep the UK intact. This is in spite of the fact that Sturgeon’s intent to let her yellow-coated socialists loose in Westminster is clearly a cynical attempt to stir up antagonism between the English and Scots.

      2. Jerry
        January 22, 2015

        @William Gruff; I think your comment is a bit wide of the mark, what makes you think “agricola” isn’t thinking and voting, after all the average person in the UK (certainly in England) will get no more than 2 chances to vote every 5 years and then one of those will be either local or EU elections – for the rest of the time it is quite in order to expect the elected politicos to deal with such issues and tell then when you think they are not.

    2. Kenneth R Moore
      January 22, 2015

      The SNP line seems to be that they will vote if it is in Scotland’s interests and to hell with England. Miss Sturgeon suggested that we should be grateful to the Nationalists for preventing Tory ‘privatisation’. What has happened to democracy – this is nothing more than a political stitch up designed to implement permanent socialist governments in England.

      It’s about time they were told, in the strongest terms, that they have wider responsibilities to be fair to the Union, England as well as narrower national interests since they have accepted the decision to stay IN.

      I thought Andrew Neil today was notably good on the Daily Politics

      Our host makes an appearance towards the end – I believe he is sincere in seeking a fair settlement but I fear his John Major like colleagues will seek to water down his proposed settlement as they inevitable collapse like wet cardboard.

  10. Max Dunbar
    January 21, 2015

    I guess that your correspondents here will be annoyed that Sturgeon has announced that the SNP intend to interfere in NHS England after the General Election.
    How do you intend dealing with this possible eventuality?

    1. DaveM
      January 21, 2015

      It won’t be dealt with. It’ll be allowed to happen and the English will just have to suck it up because we are not represented. We all slate Merkel on this website, but I’m beginning to think we’d be better in bed with the Germans. At least queen Angela does what she thinks is best for her people. As did Salmond. As does Sturgeon. Who stands up for the English? No one. No one stands up for us. Maybe we should start standing up for ourselves. The Germans are doing just that – the EUcrats want us to unite, so lets join hands with the Germans!

      HoC vote on EVEL? Someone championing an English Parliament? Ha. just another pack of bare faced politicians’ lies. I guess we’re supposed to have forgotten about all that and got back to flogging ourselves so our taxes can be taken and handed to the NHS to look after all the health tourists and immigrants who have contributed nothing, as well as propping up the Welsh and Scottish economies and funding the EU who will be providing pensions and nice li’l earners for our politicians.

      About time we said “enough is enough”. We Are The People, after all. It’s our country for God’s sake.

    2. alan jutson
      January 22, 2015


      ‘How do you intend dealing …….’

      We could always have a vote on independence.

      We could even have a separate Parliament for England.
      Now there is an idea !

      Once again this shows the failure of devolved Parliaments and powers, if the rules are not equal.

      1. Max Dunbar
        January 22, 2015

        It just illustrates the nonsense of so-called devolved assemblies. They don’t work and as I’ve said before, there will never be peace in our island as long as there is a Scottish Executive, even if you have an English Parliament.

        1. alan jutson
          January 23, 2015


          Sad yo say, but I think I agree with you.

          The genie is now well and truly out of the bottle.

          Devolution has been a disaster for all.

          Perhaps we will need to rebuild the wall eventually.
          I hope not, but where does this madness all end, other than an eventual break up of the UK as we used to know it.

    3. Know-Dice
      January 22, 2015

      The first thing that could be done is make EVEL a condition of implementing the recommendations of the “Smith Report”. Certainly any powers that have been devolved should not be voted on in the Westminster Parliament by MPs from the devolved regions…simples

      Next the Tories need to show potential Labour voters that it’s go to bed with Ed wake up with Nicola…rather than be worried about UKIP

  11. Jon
    January 21, 2015

    It perhaps seems Labour are obsessed with trying to shore up their Scottish contingent.

    Jim Murphy is just saying anything, he’s not a unionist despite being on his Iron Bru box promoting it around Scotland last year. The NHS in Scotland is at risk despite saying last year it wasn’t under the Union, it was in safer hands. Whilst being Labour I thought he had a level head but he seems to have lost it.

    Labour clearly want a coalition with the SNP, not sure how popular that looks in England if the wider voter gets wind of it. Not sure the Scots would be too keen either?

    Nicola Sturgeon announcing the SNP will vote on English NHS issues and against what the English want.

    Labour’s Sadiq Khan re affirming today that Labour don’t want to give English votes for English matters only to the English MP’s. Teaming up with nationalists parties to vote against what England wants for it’s matters.

    The abstention of Labour on not renewing Trident on a Nationalist bill in order to appease the nationalists. Is that more important than our security?

    All with the fact that NHS spending is at it’s highest level and protected with the back drop of Labour Welsh devolved NHS underfunded.

    Labour have more seats in England than in Scotland, they are playing a very risky game.

    I can see a pattern, in Scotland Labour dismissed the Nationalists, when they encroached on their membership they copied them thereby being their advert, salesmen. In England they are dismissing the need for English votes for English matters, English devolution. Suggesting they will team up with the SNP to prevent English devolution.

  12. Lifelogic
    January 21, 2015

    Indeed but the performance of both is very poor when compared to very many countries. Many people clearly die and suffer as a direct result.

    Even when you get to the point of being seen (or treated) the performance and quality of the service is often dismal. This despite the fact that may of the staff are excellent, dedicated and clearly trying their very best. Alas many are clearly not trying at all and may others are in the rationing, blame and litigation avoidance industries.

    The whole current structure of the system is dreadful and can never become efficient as structured. It is a rationing system, not a health service. If you spend someone else’s money on something for someone else then you do not care what you spend nor what you get for the spend, and that is the NHS.

    Largely run for the benefit senior staff, more spent on posh offices and bureaucrats than on running efficient wards and operating theatres. Little incentive to become efficient so they do not do so. Much of the system is designed not to treat people but to deter, push away, manipulate statistics, defend litigation or delay.

  13. Richard1
    January 21, 2015

    It is clear that the NHS in Wales administered by Labour is a disaster and nothing short of a tradegy for its victims and their families. To think also that Labour propose the reappointment of Andy Burham as health secretary should they win the election – the minister who presided over eg the mid Saffs disaster & tragedy. Is Fred Goodwin to be reappointed as CEO of RBS?

    Labour are to wheel out the tired old scare that the Tories will ‘privatise ‘ the NHS. The reality is the NHS under Labour, captured as it is by militant producer interests, means bad service and unnecessary suffering and death for patients. Can this really be a favourable issue for Labour at the election?

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