Rhun ap Iorwerth AM backs new campaign for fair chance of survival for people with the deadliest common cancer

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM has pledged his support to Pancreatic Cancer UK’s campaign demanding action to give people a fair chance to beat pancreatic cancer.

Currently 93 per cent of people will die within five years of diagnosis , making pancreatic cancer eight times deadlier than other common cancers such as prostate, breast or bowel cancer. The charity is calling for the Government and devolved administrations to produce a dedicated national plan in response to the pancreatic cancer emergency.

At the launch of Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Demand Survival Now campaign at the Senedd on Wednesday 27 November Rhun ap Iorwerth AM heard how, despite progress in overall cancer survival, pancreatic cancer remains the deadliest common cancer. Survival has not improved for more than 50 years and the UK is falling further behind the rest of Europe, with fewer patients receiving surgery to remove their tumour – currently the only potential cure for the disease.

Pancreatic Cancer UK believes it is possible to transform the future for those affected by the disease through a dedicated action plan focusing on: increased research investment; delivering better, faster care; and raising public awareness of pancreatic cancer symptoms through a national awareness campaign.

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said: “It is heart-breaking that 93 per cent of people with pancreatic cancer will die within five years of diagnosis. Nobody should face such appalling odds.

“We have seen significant improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and awareness of many cancers, lifesaving progress that I am hugely grateful for, but for pancreatic cancer to have been left so far behind is unacceptable.

“I hope everyone in Ynys Môn will join me in backing this campaign and help transform survival for this devastating disease.”

A report released by the charity to coincide with the campaign launch highlights how decades of underfunding for research into pancreatic cancer have hampered efforts to improve survival and just 2.1 per cent of the UK cancer research budget is currently spent on the disease. The charity wants Governments to prioritise pancreatic cancer by investing £25m into research annually to help find desperately needed new treatments and deliver earlier diagnosis.

No screening or early detection tests exist for pancreatic cancer and its vague symptoms – such as back pain, indigestion and weight-loss – mean the disease often goes undetected until after it has spread to other parts of the body. Pancreatic Cancer UK wants to see the introduction of a national optimal pathway within the NHS, similar to those already in place for other cancers, to ensure that all pancreatic cancer patients across the UK receive the best standard of treatment and care, as fast as possible. The charity believes that this measure, in combination with a symptoms awareness campaign from Government, could lead to more patients being diagnosed in time for treatment to be possible – giving them the very best chance of survival.

Pancreatic Cancer UK has started a petition calling for the Welsh Government and other governments across the UK to produce a dedicated national plan to transform survival for pancreatic cancer. To sign the petition visit: www.demandsurvivalnow.org.uk

Diana Jupp, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer UK said: ““We’re extremely grateful Rhun ap Iorwerth AM has shown his support for our Demand Survival Now campaign. Decades of underfunding and inaction from Governments of all colours have made tackling pancreatic cancer a cancer emergency like no other.

“The huge strides which have been made in improving survival for other cancers are proof that the UK can do so much better, and it’s time Governments prioritised the deadliest common cancer. With a dedicated plan, we can transform the future for patients and their loved ones. Please join us by signing the petition. It’s unacceptable that people with pancreatic cancer face such deadly odds. They deserve a fair chance to survive.”

Welsh Government must step up to tackle problems regarding dementia care

Welsh Government urgently need to do more to support people living with dementia, and make sure they can receive the care they need close to home and in their first language, according to Ynys Mon Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth.

A number of cases have been brought to the attention of the Plaid Cymru AM on Ynys Mon in recent weeks, where dementia patients are being asked to travel extensive distances outside their communities to receive care, to England in one particular case, meaning that they would not be able to receive care through the medium of Welsh.

Mr ap Iorwerth has written to Welsh Government on two occasions regarding similar cases in recent weeks, and brought concerns to the attention of Health Minister Vaughan Gething.
Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“We urgently need to do more to support people living with dementia, to make sure that they can receive care as close as possible to their home communities, close to their families and in their first language, and I pay tribute to the families who have been in contact with me for all their hard work in fighting for the best care for their loved ones.

“Welsh Government says it recognises how important it is that people can communicate in their first language when receiving care, especially dementia patients, but we need to see action now to tackle what is a very concerning state of affairs.

“Provision in north Wales for dementia patients is being stretched to breaking point, particularly for those with high level of care needs and twice in the last two months I have pressed Welsh Government in separate cases regarding care for patients who are being told they either have to travel extensive distances out of their communities for care, or even having to go to England.

“This is making it more difficult for people to be treated close to home and in their first language of Welsh, and affected families are deeply upset about the circumstances their loved ones are facing when seeking essential care. I will continue to press both Welsh Government and the Health Board for answers and resolutions to this unacceptable situation.”

Plaid Cymru motion to safeguard Welsh NHS in face of possible privatization rejected by Labour and Tories

The Labour Welsh Government has voted against giving the Senedd a veto over international trade deals that could open up the NHS to privatisation.
 
Plaid Cymru brought forward a motion calling for a Welsh veto and for the Wales Act to be modified to take away the power of the UK Government to force through changes in devolved fields against the will of the Senedd.

Responding to the vote, Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth said:

“It is very disappointing that Labour today voted against Plaid Cymru’s motion to protect the Welsh NHS in the face of possible privatisation in a UK-US Trade Deal.

“Under the Tories in Westminster and Labour in Wales we’ve seen our NHS in Wales face cuts and mismanagement time and again. Today both Labour and Tories voted against the principle of protecting it from privatisation in possible trade deals.

“Only Plaid Cymru can be trusted to give our health service in Wales the protection it needs. We want to recruit 1,000 new doctors, 5,000 new nurses and 100 dentists for our NHS, and will protect our vital health services and it’s staff from reckless privatisation.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth appeals for more support for Citizens Advice Bureau amid fears of national cuts

It would be impossible for the Citizens Advice Bureau to continue to offer the same level of excellent service to Ynys Mon constituents if recent plans to slash funding for the organisation are not reconsidered, according the island’s AM, Rhun ap Iorwerth.

Citizens Advice has been awarded funding by the Welsh Government to provide advice services across Wales from 1 January 2020, and will receive £8.1 million to operate services across all regions in Wales, but the new way in which services will be funded – through the Single Advice Fund – means that local branches such as Ynys Mon’s service, face making staff cuts under the new fund.

Raising concerns regarding this matter in the Assembly this week, Plaid Cymru’s Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“Recent changes to the way Citizens Advice is being funded is going to be leaving some of the most vulnerable people in my constituency even more vulnerable and unable to access help when they most need it, and I’ve asked Welsh Government how it intends to deal with this lack of capacity now to deal with issues that are of importance to my constituents.

“The CAB on Ynys Môn currently have a number of staff working with constituents, but changes to how CAB is funded means that from January next year, this vital service faces significant cuts, making it impossible for CAB to give the kind of advice and service that they have been giving to my constituents.

“I’ve asked Welsh Government for a statement on how on earth they’re meant to cope with that situation, especially when the service has been so good from CAB in recent years.”

Plaid Cymru campaign to restore GP services in Holyhead moves forward

The voices of local residents who attended a packed public meeting in Holyhead recently regarding the lack of GP services in the area have been heard loud and clear after Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth discussed concerns with the Health Board.

The Ynys Mon AM wrote to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board after organising the meeting at Millbank Community Centre last month as part of his campaign to see GP services restored to full capacity in the area, with two practices – Longford House and Cambria – currently being run by the Health Board due to difficulties recruiting and retaining doctors.

A response from the Health Board received this week showed that they are taking the concerns of residents seriously, with plans mooted for the short, medium and longer term to see services in the area restored to full capacity.

After receiving the Health Board’s response, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“The responses I’ve received from the Health Board show that it was very, very useful to have that public meeting, and the way that residents spoke at that meeting, raising their concerns in a serious, measured way, that I was then able to pass on to the Health Board, was worthwhile.

“What we have is an explanation of the steps being taken now to recruit doctors in the immediate future, as well as plans for the near future, and a vision for a new, modern vision for primary care in Holyhead and the surrounding area in the longer term.

“The truth of the matter is that this is an issue that should never have been allowed to come to fruition. Labour have been running the NHS in Wales for 20 years now and it is their lack of urgency, their lack of action, that has led us to this point where we have these real issues that are affecting the lives of people in and around Holyhead.

“I look forward to meeting Health Board officials in the new year to press them further for action on this matter, but once again I am very grateful for the input of local residents at our public meeting, as their contributions have been really useful.”

Amlwch Guides inspire AM’s Plastic Promise

After 1st Amlwch Guides contacted their local AM Rhun ap Iorwerth, asking him to promote their Plastic Promise campaign, Rhun this week made a 90 second statement in the Senedd chamber praising their campaign and making his own plastic promise.

As part of the Future Girl campaign, Girlguiding asked thousands of girls what was important to them, and the environment came up as one of the top five issues.

As a result, 1st Amlwch Guides, have made a pledge to tackle plastic pollution to protect the planet and contacted Rhun to share their plastic promises with him.

Rhun shared these with other AMs this week and added his own pledge to the list.

Speaking at the Senedd yesterday, Rhun ap Iorwerth said:

“Members of the First Amlwch Guides have each written to me to share their plastic promises. They include pledges to use metal or paper straws, to reuse plastic bottles, and to hold on to plastic until they find a recycling bin. Others will be buying food in non-plastic containers, ditching cling film, or, and I quote, ‘telling my mum not to buy plastic bags.’ They’re asking us as AMs to join them in being planet protectors, by making plastic promises of our own.

“I’ll be sharing my promises on social media. I’ll pledge to always try to recycle well and to continue to support campaigners for a deposit-return scheme—something the Girl Guides agree is a very good idea. And I and the Amlwch Guides invite all of you to make your own plastic promises by using the hashtags #PlasticPromise or #AddewidPlastig.

“By working together, we can make a real difference. And let’s take a lead from our young people, because it’s their future.”

Welsh Government must push for investment to strengthen Menai Crossing

Responding to comments made by Ken Skates AM today regarding the Third Menai Crossing, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“After the Wylfa Newydd plan was postponed, I specifically asked Welsh Government to give certainty that the case for third crossing over the Menai was still as strong as ever, and I was given that certainty.

“Yes, Wylfa would have resulted in extra traffic on the existing crossings, and of course that is a factor in the plans for the third crossing, but the truth is that there are serious questions regarding the resilience of the current crossings.

“On too many occasions, the connection between Ynys Mon and the mainland has been cut off, or has been at risk of being cut off, and the emergency services have always argued that these crossing must be stronger, and that is the main reason for a third crossing.

“Although the Wylfa Newydd project has been delayed, I still believe in pushing for extra investment from National Grid towards the cost of a third crossing, as hundreds of millions is currently invested in undergrounding cables through national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty,

“The truth is that the wires across the Menai negatively affect one of the most beautiful areas in Wales, and investment should be provided to ensure that those cables do not affect the area in such a way. The way to do that is to put them on the bridge, and that should happen whatever happens with Wylfa. Welsh Government must push for that investment.

“I also support the campaign for Bont Bendigeidfran, which would be an amazing design and bring visitors from across the world to visit the crossing, but that is another matter.”

Widespread support in Wales for Senedd name, poll finds.

A plurality of people in Wales support re-naming the Assembly the ‘Senedd’ as the official name in both Welsh and English a poll has found.

A YouGov poll commissioned by Plaid Cymru shows that 45% of those who responded support ‘Senedd’ as the only name for the institution, compared to 28% who support “Welsh Parliament” as the official name in English.

Removing those who responded with ‘Don’t Know’, the figures indicate 56% to 35% in favour of ‘Senedd’.

The poll also found that ‘Senedd’ was the most popular choice for supporters from all main political parties in Wales. Excluding don’t knows, 84% of Plaid Cymru supporters and 59% of Labour supporters support the Senedd only name.”

Excluding ‘don’t knows’, 48% of Conservative supporters also backed the Welsh only name, despite the opposition to the name from the Conservative group in the National Assembly.

Plaid Cymru AM Rhun ap Iorwerth said the poll confirmed that the plurality of people of Wales wanted ‘Senedd’ as the only name for the Assembly.

Mr ap Iorwerth said the Conservative elected members were out of touch with the people of Wales and their supporters but that Labour could yet make up its mind and show that ‘they are in keeping with the people of Wales’.

The Plaid Cymru AM said that the issue went ‘beyond party politics’ and was about developing ‘a new kind of democracy in Wales’ and that the Welsh language belonged to all in Wales.

Plaid Cymru AM Rhun ap Iorwerth said,

“This poll confirms what we already knew: a plurality of people in Wales want Senedd – and only Senedd, as the name for their national political institution.

“What’s also revealing is that a majority of Labour and Tory supporters think it should be Senedd in both languages. Not only are Tory AMs out of touch with the people of Wales – they’re out of touch with their supporters as well.

“I was delighted that a number of Labour members have already signed up to support our amendment for a Senedd only name but the Labour Welsh Government holds the casting vote.

“Wales backs Senedd. Labour supporters back Senedd. Will the Labour Government show that they are in keeping with the people of Wales and also back Senedd?

“This goes beyond party politics. This is about showing that the Welsh language belongs to us all. This is about showing that we want to develop a new kind of democracy in Wales.

“Let’s be confident in ourselves, uniting the nation behind the name that belongs to everyone regardless of their language, reflecting both our heritage and the dawn of a new kind of democracy. This is our Senedd, a unique name for a unique Parliament.

Thousands of Anglesey residents helped into work by European schemes, evidence shows.

The career prospects of thousands of Anglesey residents have been boosted significantly since 2007 by European Union schemes, with 1,400 jobs created, 2,100 peopled helped into work and 9,000 people earning new qualifications, evidence shows.

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth AM received confirmation of the above figures in response to a written question tabled in the Assembly recently regarding European programs involving skill and employment development on the island.

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth said:

“This is another strong example of just how beneficial being a member of the European Union has benefitted Wales and my constituency of Ynys Môn.

“Creating thousands of jobs, helping thousands more skill-up and achieve better jobs and enabling almost 10,000 qualifications to be achieved by the island’s people is a significant contribution to the island’s economy.

“After the shambolic events of the last three years our assessment remains clear that leaving the European Union would be detrimental to Wales – bad for farming, bad for young people, for the NHS and for the economy.

“Let’s give the people, not politicians, the final say, and let the people give their assessment of what has unfolded since June 2016. Our future and the future of our children is at stake.”

Plaid Cymru Parliamentary candidate for Ynys Môn Aled ap Dafydd added:

“While the Conservative party is intent on a destructive Brexit and with Labour showing a chronic lack of leadership – Plaid Cymru wants a positive future for Wales within the European Union.

“No form of Brexit can compete with the deal we have already.

“Being part of the EU has supported thousands of people into work in Ynys Môn.

“European funds have been the backbone for many of our workers at a time when the Westminster parties have neglected the needs of our communities.

“As the only Remain party standing in Ynys Môn Plaid Cymru will always be in the side of working people.”

OPINION: Sticking to Senedd shows that we have our own unique identity, history and future

Yesterday, thirty writers, actors and other well-known figures in Wales signed a powerful open letter calling for the renaming of the National Assembly as ‘Senedd’, Welsh for ‘parliament’. They include actor Michael Sheen, Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens, Cerys Matthews and rugby referee legend Nigel Owens.

Today Plaid Cymru will joined them on the steps of the Assembly as we urge our fellow AMs to embrace this move as a sign of a united and confident new Wales.

It’s part of a rebranding that’s already underway to emphasise that this is now a fully-fledged parliament, a world away from the under-powered Assembly established in 1999. But let’s use that rebranding, not to opt for the unimaginative ‘Welsh Parliament’, or even a bilingual version, ‘Welsh parliament – Senedd Cymru’, but rather to make a statement through an original, indigenous and unique Welsh name that would be a powerful message about the kind of democracy we want.

Devolution and the growth of Welsh democracy mustn’t be about emulating or borrowing the concept of democracy from elsewhere, including that other place that sometimes calls itself the mother of all Parliaments. We’re saying we’re doing something differently in Wales.

Senedd comes from the same root as Senate. It crystallises our history in many ways – an assimilation of our history and our Celtic and Romanitas traditions coming together in one word. It’s the same word in old Cornish, ‘senedh’, and in Breton, ‘senezh’, and also the upper house in the Republic of Ireland, the Seanad. And Owain Glyndŵr’s Parliament was a ‘senedd’ too, of course.

That Roman Senedd, Senatus Romanus, met in a half-circle, as we do, rather than the other tradition that we have seen in Westminster—which, unfortunately, has been at its very worst over the past weeks and months, where confrontation is all.

Brand

But having a unique name that is based on our history doesn’t just say that we have our own tradition. It also says that we have our own future. We can create our own unique democracy.

When new democracies are formed, the naming of things, symbols, are important, because they say something about what you’re trying to create. This is normal across the world. Think of the Dáil, the Knesset and the Duma, for example.

We don’t simply want to recreate the parliamentary tradition that has existed elsewhere; we want to create a Parliament that is fit for us, that belongs to us, that is part of our history and our tradition, yes, but also says something about a different kind of democracy that could be made here in Wales.

‘Senedd’ is a unique name and it adds to our identity. It gives this institution our international reputation and adds to our brand as a country. There would be no other ‘Senedd’ in the whole world.

Let’s use that fact to confirm our status as a nation with its own language and culture, and a unique name for its legislature.

Some words transcend language barriers. The Welsh language, needless to say, belongs to us all, but there are some words, in particular, that in practical and usage terms genuinely belong to us all.

There are words that slip easily from one linguistic context to another, and ‘senedd’ is one of those words—a word that is of Wales, a word rooted in the Welsh language, that is bilingual in its application.

What better application for such an inclusive word than as the official name of our national democratic and representative institution?

Welsh is a language for all, and the Welsh language peppers conversations from Gwent to Wrexham, from Môn to Monmouthshire—’cwtsh’, ‘tadcu’, ‘hiraeth’, ‘hwyl’, ‘eisteddfod’. Let’s have ‘Senedd’ as part of the everyday language of everybody in Wales.

Consensus

The argument that you either speak Welsh or you speak English, and therefore you need a Welsh name for Welsh speakers and an English name for English speakers is wrong. Let’s not put people into inflexible linguistic categories.

Rather, what we have is a linguistic continuum, as the Government’s proposals for Welsh in the new education curriculum demonstrates.

In tabling the amendment this week (for the second time), to take the ‘Senedd’ proposal to a vote, I was determined to take a consensual approach. This is way beyond party politics. I’m delighted that a number of Labour members have already signed up to support it. Now it’s up to the Labour Welsh Government to come on board. It holds the balance in this decision.

A building of cross-party consensus on the matter means members are likely to be called Aelod o’r Senedd, or Member of the Senedd in future. We already call the building iutself the Senedd. It’s a small but significant step to giving that official name to the institution itself.

Let’s be confident in ourselves, uniting the nation behind the name that belongs to everyone regardless of their language, reflecting both our heritage and the dawn of a new kind of democracy.

This is our Senedd, a unique name for a unique Parliament.