If you don't trust politicians, trust GPs

One of the features of the Yes for Wales campaign has been its decision to use people form all walks of life, rather than just politicians, to explain why we need to get out and vote Yes on 3 March. The reasons for that are quite understandable: people's level of trust in politicians is probably only marginally above our trust in estate agents ... although this survey shows that we do trust our AMs more than we trust our MPs.
But one group we are much more likely to trust is our GPs. So with only a week to go before the big day, it's good and very timely to see this endorsement of a Yes vote from Dr Andrew Dearden, chair of the Welsh Council of the BMA.

“For me, the question is about the most efficient and effective way for the Assembly to function.

“At the moment we have a half-way house. If we want to do something we can either do it or we have to got to Parliament in London and ask their permission.

“This question is different to whether you agree to having an Assembly. I would not want people to vote as to whether they want an Assembly. Since we have got one, it’s about how effective you would like it to run.”

Dr Dearden said that in his experience there have been many positive things that had come from devolution for the healthcare profession.

He said: “We keep asking ourselves how has the health of the people of Wales improved, but the health of the people is down to many factors that are not controlled by the Assembly.

“But there have been some very good things that the Assembly has done. They are leading the world on autism and they were the first nation to introduce the smoking ban.

“They are also looking into the transplant process and the issue of presumed consent.

“They have kept free accommodation for junior doctors when they come out of university, which is sensible for the economy as it will increase recruitment in Wales. It’s not a utopia, but they have kept things out that have been going on across the border."

South Wales Echo, 23 February 2011

He strikes quite a welcome note of realism. Getting some of the same primary lawmaking powers that Scotland and Northern Ireland already have is not going to transform Wales into a utopia. And it is true that many of the decisions any future Welsh Government will make on the health service will be about how wisely we allocate resources, not on what laws we can make.

But for some policy areas, making laws can make a very real difference.

Dr Dearden mentions the smoking ban—which we in Wales could have introduced much earlier without the present cumbersome system—and the issue of presumed consent for organ transplants. I could add to that by mentioning the new legislation on mental health, which I looked at in detail here.

The issue of presumed consent for organ transplants is a good illustration of an area where a majority in Wales want to change the system, but which the government in Westminster is refusing to let us do. As things stand they have an absolute veto, because the Assembly cannot legislate in any new area without permission from Westminster. But we can change that by voting Yes next Thursday.

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Anonymous said...


MH said...

It's a dirty job reading through the BNP website. But thanks, Anon. Take a long, hot shower to try and get rid of the smell.

Cibwr said...

Well fascinating, the BNP clearly don't have a clue... the National Assembly is now the WAG and we have the "Midlothian question". Oh dear. Still they are in good company, UKIP and a christian fundamentalist group also call for a no vote.

Unknown said...

While the NHS in England is being not so much dismantled as demolished, it it good to see a positive endorsement of the Assembly from a very prominent Welsh Doctor!

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