Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Wednesday, 18 July 2012 11:29 UK

Health and Social Services Committee

Health Minister Lesley Griffiths has told AMs that she has done "nothing wrong", following reports that an author of an independent report into the future of the NHS contacted government officials.

Lesley Griffiths was facing questions from the health committee, on 17 July 2012, regarding emails between senior civil servants and a respected health economist which opposition parties have claimed meant the report's impartiality may have been compromised.

The minister stressed that she trusted her officials and insisted that it was "entirely appropriate" for her officials to be in contact with the author, Professor Marcus Longley.

The minister reiterated: "I know I have nothing wrong."

She said that the debate had been "damaged" and that she had been contacted by professionals who were "horrified".

Ms Griffiths stressed: "This is not a Welsh government report, the Welsh government did not influence the report, this is an independent report."

The government has maintained that Professor Longley's report was commissioned by local health board chief executives and they had no involvement or influence except to provide data requested by the authors.

However, Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams cited papers to several health boards in January in which their members were told that the government was working with Professor Longley's team to produce a report on the case for change in the Welsh NHS.

Lesley Griffiths AM will face a no confidence vote during plenary on Tuesday.

During the committee, health economist Marcus Longley also rejected claims that he "sexed up" the document.

Emails have emerged which show Prof Longley asking senior civil servants for "killer facts" while he was writing the report.

Professor Longley insisted that he had not "colluded or connived" with civil servants during the process.

He rejected claims from members that the report was not independent due to his contact with senior Welsh government officials during his investigations.

Professor Longley said that his "integrity has been smeared" following these allegations and insisted that contact with government officials was "appropriate" to ensure "we had the most accurate data".

He insisted that without this data, his team were unable "to do the job".

Labour AM Vaughan Gething said that the emails may have suggested that he had "surrendered" his independence and was acting as a "cheerleader for the government".

Conservative AM William Graham also questioned him on the independence of the emails.

However Prof Longley said that "a number of emails have been taken out of context and twisted" and that they were "quick exchanges".

He said that a lot of evidence was indeed in the public domain, but often data is not published.

Prof Longley explained that his officials "went to a variety of sources to get this data including the Welsh government".

He added: "We spent many weeks in frequent dialogue with a number of sources and- what we see in these emails is a "snapshot" of a wider investigation that is inconclusive."

Health and Social Care Committee membership


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