Posted: Wed 21st Feb 2024

‘It’s a tough gig’: Health Minister non-committal on her future in the role amid leadership changes for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 21st, 2024

Wales’s Health Minister has refused to commit to staying in her role when a new First Minister is appointed.

Eluned Morgan was questioned on her future during an interview on BBC Radio Wales this morning.

It comes as Economy Minister Vaughan Gething and Education Minister Jeremy Miles are currently vying to replace Mark Drakeford.

Voting has opened this week among Welsh Labour members to select their next leader, who will in turn become the next First Minister of Wales.

When questioned over whether she would remain in her ministerial role regardless of who wins the race, Ms Morgan said: “Oh, gosh, it’s a pretty tough gig I must tell you. We’ll have to see what happens but it’s a very, very pressurised job.”

The Labour MS for Mid and West Wales has faced a number of challenges in her role as Health Minister.

Locally, it has coincided with a period in which Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was put back into special measures.

The Welsh Government said the escalation of its status reflected “serious and outstanding concerns” over the effectiveness of its board, patient safety, leadership and financial management.

In March 2022, Ms Morgan was forced to apologise after she was banned from driving for six months for repeatedly speeding.

Her interview with the BBC took place against the backdrop of a 72-hour strike by junior doctors in Wales in a row over pay.

The Welsh junior doctors committee balloted members in August 2023 after being offered a below-inflation pay offer of five per cent.

In response to their concerns, the Health Minister said the devolved government did not have enough money to meet their pay demands.

She said: “We understand the strength of feeling from junior doctors and we understand the situation in relation to the pay erosion.

“But the real problem is that we are at the limit of what we can afford to pay them.

“They’ve been offered and they’ve been given in their pay packages already five per cent which is exactly the same has been offered to everybody else in the NHS.

“The problem for us is that in order to even to get to that amount, we’ve had to go around the whole of the cabinet table, asking them for additional resources.

“You’ve seen cuts across the whole of the rest of the Welsh Government in order to fund the NHS.

“The fact is that 65 per cent of the Welsh NHS budget goes directly on staff so the only place we can go for this is from other parts of the NHS.”

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