Spare a thought for poor Edwina Hart, Health Minister in the Welsh Assembly.
Not only are her coalition partners unhappy with her performance - Wrecsam Plaid noting that:
There is increasing concern across Wales about the inefficiencies and waste within NHS Wales, it's seven Health Boards and their multi billion pound budgets. The concern also extends to a perceived lack of accountability of a dictatorial Minister of Health and an inability to scrutinise and challenge decisions of Health Boards on a local level because there are no elected members on the Health Boards.
but it seems that she has a bit of a blind spot where unfavourable reports are concerned.
Having stated quite clearly (on 30 March) that
'The McKinsey commission has resulted in a process not a publication and therefore there is no formal document for scrutiny'
and on 15 June
'there is no McKinsey report'
it turns out that not only is there a McKinsey report but it makes a number of criticisms of the way the NHS in Wales has been run.
Strategies are 'financially unaffordable', lack accountability' and there is 'a lack of capacity to deliver them.'
The report also states that " strategic objectives are too numerous and not prioritised, so none or the wrong ones are implemented."
Oh, and Kirsty Williams, the Leader of the Welsh Lib Dems, has got hold of a copy. Believe it or not she is not about to let it lie...
Kirsty has written to the First Minister making a complaint that Edwina Hart has broken the Ministerial Code, specifically
It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to the Assembly, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead the Assembly will be expected to offer their resignation to the First Minister;
Ministers should be as open as possible with the Assembly and the public, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest
A direct denial that the report exists would appear to be fairly inaccurate information. Given that Edwina Hart commissioned the report it seems unlikely that she was unaware of it. This suggests that she did "knowingly mislead the Assembly".
A slightly odd rule in the Assembly is that the First Minister is responsible for determining whether one of his Ministers broke the code. I'm sure that Carwyn Jones (or indeed future First Ministers) won't let the fact that it is his Health Minister that is being accused influence his decision at all. This rule needs to change. A decision like this should be taken by someone impartial.