Health Minister’s 42-page record of achievement sent to AMs

CIVIL servants were asked by Welsh Labour leadership contender Edwina Hart to prepare a 42-page document detailing her recent achievements as Health and Social Services Minister, it has emerged.

Last week, the document was sent as a letter to all AMs.

A civil servant in Mrs Hart’s department took the unusual step of contacting the Western Mail and said: “This took a lot of pulling together. It’s pretty obvious why she has asked for this now.”

Mrs Hart is known to be preparing to launch her campaign to become Welsh Labour leader shortly after Rhodri Morgan officially announces he is stepping down.

One advantage she has over her rivals, Carwyn Jones and Huw Lewis, is that, as Health Minister, she has a considerable public service portfolio. As Counsel General, Mr Jones is the Assembly Government’s chief legal adviser, and as Leader of the House he is responsible for internal business arrangements. Mr Lewis is a backbencher.

As a result of the way Welsh Labour elects its leader, the vote of an AM is equivalent to about 100 votes of party members.

In the letter to all AMs, Mrs Hart states: “I wanted to write to you, in the first week of Assembly business, to provide an update on developments in the health field over the summer period. A great deal of activity has taken place during the recess, and I am keen that members should have a single point of reference in order to remain fully informed about what has taken place.”

After referring to swine flu and the NHS reorganisation that comes into effect today, Mrs Hart states there has been “significant progress on a number of matters”.

Her letter then goes on to describe developments in 57 subject areas, ranging from abdominal aortic aneurysm to the Welsh Language in Health and Social Services Task Group.

An Assembly Government spokesman said: “The Health Minister feels it is important to update AMs regularly on the progress in her portfolio.

“The minister wrote to AMs last week outlining developments over the summer on a range of important issues within health and social services. Mrs Hart wrote a similar letter after the summer recess last year.”