Andrew RT Davies addresses Mark Drakeford’s recent ‘tantrum’

Mark Drakeford has cultivated an image of a gentle, polite politician, which is why it came as a shock to many commentators when [on October 18] the First Minister exploded in such a strange way.

All too often he finds it insulting that anyone should have the temerity to scrutinise him.

I had raised with him two incidents that had taken place in the week leading up to First Ministers Questions that concerned ambulance waiting times.

The first was about a young lad from Cefn Cribwr who had injured his back playing football and had to wait five hours for an ambulance, lying on the pitch in the rain, unsure of how serious his back injury was.

The second was a heart-breaking story of a 79-year-old ex-miner. He had been one of the first on the scene of the Aberfan disaster. A true, hardworking Welsh hero.

But because of Labour’s systematic mismanagement of the health service in Wales, when he fell over last week he was writhing in pain, on his cold kitchen floor, for 15 hours while waiting for an ambulance.

I quoted to the First Minister the words of that man’s daughter, who said that Aneurin Bevan would be rolling in his grave if he could see the state of the Welsh NHS.

And then it all kicked off. Eyebrows clenched, spit flying, shaking all over. He stopped short from stamping his feet and rolling around on the floor like a child in a supermarket.

His outburst wasn’t some sort of righteous fury. It was a man having a tantrum, because he had been shown the mirror and he didn’t like what he saw.

Wales is home to the worst ambulance delays, A&E waits, and treatment waiting lists in Britain. There’s no buck passing for that. There is more funding given to Wales for the NHS than there is for England, and Labour have been running the health service for 23 years in Wales.

It’s my job, as it is with any elected official, to raise questions and issues that the electorate face. It’s Mark Drakeford’s job to give answers. And I don’t have to like the answers he gives. But crucially, he must bear responsibility, and he must stand up to scrutiny.

Did his refusal to answer take away the anxiety of anybody who cares for an elderly relative who might need an ambulance?

His reaction reflects that Labour in Wales are presiding over a health service that should be considered a disgrace in any modern country, and patients and staff are being let down..

This is not an attack on the staff who work extremely hard, and perform miracles every day despite the pressure they are under.

Far too often people in Wales in need of help are being robbed of their dignity.

So instead of shouting at me, Mark Drakeford should look inwards. Turn that faux outrage into energy and use the levers he has at his disposal to stop incidents like these taking place.

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