I’m delighted to speak at today’s campaign launch.
It will come as no surprise that I will talk about our incredible NHS. It is hard to overstate the respect and affection that Welsh Labour and the people of Wales have for our NHS.
That was true before the pandemic – but the past year has reminded us like never before just how amazing our NHS is.
Whether it’s the staff who quite literally put their lives on the line to look after patients in the early stages of the pandemic.
The groundbreaking NHS research that has helped us learn about how best to tackle Covid-19.
Or the incredible team effort that’s making our vaccine rollout one of the quickest in the world.
The values that underpin our National Health Service are Welsh Labour values.
They are the values that have underpinned our response to the events of the past year.
They’re the values that mean we use trusted local government and our NHS to deliver our contact tracing system – rather than outsourcing it to private companies.
Despite the courage and heroism we’ve seen over the last 12 months, the Tories want to reward our staff with a pitiful 1% pay rise. in real terms its a pay cut. Its a kick in the teeth from the Tories.
In contrast Welsh Labour as invested year on year in our NHS. We have built new state of the art hospitals. we have invested in groundbreaking treatments – Wales was the first part of the UK to make PrEP routinely available to help prevent HIV.
Our flagship New Treatment Fund makes new medicines available quickly and fairly across Wales.
Our NHS and social care services have been at the heart of our response to the pandemic. They have kept us safe in our time of need.
That’s why I was so pleased yesterday to announce a special £500 bonus for more than 220 000 people working across health and care in Wales, including the many students who answered the call to work in the NHS at the height of the pandemic.
We have much to be proud of even as we have been tested like no other government in the history of devolution.
No one can ever be truly ready to lead in a time the likes of which we’ve seen over the past twelve months. But there is one thing that we have chosen to do from the start – to be honest with the people of Wales about the decisions we have taken and why.
That hasn’t always been easy and sometimes it comes at a personal cost. But I know it was the right thing to do.
A vote for Welsh Labour in this election is a vote for the NHS. Its a vote of confidence in the tens of thousands of people who are the heartbeat of the service.
Its a vote for the values that have guided us through the pandemic to continue to help us to move Wales forward – together.