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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 April, 2003, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Labour promises a healthier Wales
Rhodri Morgan
First Minister Rhodri Morgan says Labour's manifesto has vision
The days of having to wait weeks to get an appointment to see a doctor are numbered in Wales, according to Welsh Labour.

The party has promised that everyone will be able to see a GP, dentist or optician within 24 hours under a Labour assembly government.

Labour has launched the manifesto which it hopes will win it an outright majority for the first time in the assembly on 1 May.

The party made a series of pledges on the key election issue of health, but while the document committed it to cutting NHS waiting times, no specific targets were set.

It said its proposals were about creating full employment, eradicating child poverty and improving standards in education and health.

Responsibility

The party won 28 of the 60 assembly seats in the first elections four years ago, and went into coalition with the Liberal Democrats in October 2000.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan, unveiling the manifesto in Llandudno, north Wales, said he was determined Labour should get an overall majority this time.

This is a manifesto about what we can do, not what we can't do
First Minister Rhodri Morgan

That way, he said, Labour could take full responsibility for the work of the assembly government over the next four years and would accept the verdict of the Welsh electorate in the next election in 2007.

Labour announced 10 headline-grabbing election pledges last week, such as free prescriptions for all, free breakfast in all primary schools, and scrapping swimming pool charges for older people.

On health, the manifesto said Labour would ensure nobody waited more than 24 hours to see a GP or primary care team member.

The party also promised a new health funding formula channelling a greater share of money to areas with the worst health and increased capacity.

On the decision not to set health waiting targets, Labour denied that it was because it had failed to meet the aims it set in its manifesto four years ago.

Mr Morgan said: "In contrast to our opponents this manifesto can all be implemented within the Assembly's existing constitutional and financial settlement. This is a manifesto about what we can do, not what we can't do.

'Ambitious vision'

Labour manifesto pledges
See a GP within a day
Free prescriptions
Commissioner for elderly
Safer roads

"This is a manifesto with big ideas based on an ambitious vision," he said.

"It sets Wales on the path to full employment, the eradication of child poverty, the elimination of fuel poverty, true equality of opportunity in education, a health service transformed after two decades of Tory cuts.

"These are Welsh ideals and Labour ideals, united in a firm, deliverable and ambitious programme."

Other policies include halving the number of children killed or injured on Wales's roads by 2010 and appointing a commissioner for older people.

Labour would also review the need for school tests at key stages one and two (ages five to seven, and seven to 11) and introduce a new curriculum for three to seven-year-olds.

The party would aim to recycle 25% of municipal waste, consider setting up a new national gallery of Welsh art, and invest a further 27m in the Welsh language.




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SEE ALSO:
Wales losing 800m, says Plaid
08 Apr 03  |  Wales



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