I would like to begin by saying I am incredibly proud of our National Health Service and all of the staff that work tirelessly to keep this valuable institution running.

I firmly believe that people’s health is far more important than politics or boundaries. We are a United Kingdom, and I am proud of the fact that the UK Government has offered its support to both the Welsh and Scottish Governments to bring down their waiting lists.

From October, patients waiting over 40 weeks in England will be proactively notified of their right to request to be treated at a different provider if it is clinically appropriated, either in the NHS or in the independent sector, provided they meet NHS standards and costs.

The UK Government has offered a similar scheme in Wales, letting patients know that the NHS in England would consider any request from patients waiting for lengthy periods for treatment in Scotland and Wales to be able to choose from alternative providers in England, either in the NHS or independent sector.

This issue transcends party politics. It is people’s health and wellbeing on the line, and I sincerely hope that the Welsh Government accepts the UK Government’s offer of support to ensure that no one in Wales has to wait for two years or more for treatment.

Now isn’t a time for political brinkmanship but a time to put people first.

I know that Members from all political parties across Wales have heard harrowing stories from constituents about their experiences of being stuck on waiting lists for up to two years, many of whom have to wait in pain.

The Welsh Labour Government must get to grips with the mounting pressures on our NHS and take whatever urgent measures are needed to cut waiting times and address the increasing pressures here in Wales.

There are things they can do quickly such as listen to our calls for a comprehensive retention and recruitment plan to restore our NHS’s depleted workforce and roll out of surgical hubs and diagnostic centres far more rapidly.

If health isn’t a priority, I don’t know what is, so I sincerely hope Labour ministers accept this offer of support from the UK Government, putting patients above politics, we can’t continue as we are here in Wales.