Theresa May rapped by statistics watchdog over Welsh NHS claims

Posted On: 
5th February 2018

Theresa May has been criticised by the statistics watchdog over claims she made about Labour's handling of the NHS in Wales.

Theresa May criticised Labour's running of the NHS in Wales.
PA Images

Sir David Norgrove, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, said the Prime Minister's claims were "not valid".

He was responding to Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones, who had accused Mrs May of the "selective misuse" of official figures.

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At Prime Minister's Questions last month, Jeremy Corbyn accused the Government of failing to hit A&E waiting time targets.

Mrs May said: "If he wants to talk about figures and about targets being missed, yes, the latest figures show that, in England, 497 people were waiting more than 12 hours, but the latest figures also show that, under the Labour government in Wales, 3,741 people were waiting more than 12 hours."

However, the way the figures are calculated in England is different from Wales.

In England, the clock starts ticking when a doctor decides a patient should be admitted. But in Wales, it begins when the patient registers at A&E.

Mr Jones said: "Selective misuse of statistics like this does not allow for a fair debate on the NHS."

In his response to the Labour leader in Wales, Mr Norgrove said the first minister was "right to say that the comparison is not valid".

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We would accept the assessment of the UKSA, but the point that the Prime Minister was making - in terms of the fact that the A&E in England performed better than A&E in Wales in relation to this target - still stands."

The rap for Mrs May came as she criticised Donald Trump for claiming the NHS was "broke and not working".