LIFTING BETSI OUT OF SPECIAL MEASURES MET WITH SKEPTICISM

“Welsh Government remain responsible” says Rhun ap Iorwerth

Responding to the news that Betsi Cadwaladr will be taken out of special measures with immediate effect, Plaid Cymru Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Mon and Shadow Minister for Health said,

“Today’s announcement comes as a surprise given that only a few weeks ago the Health Minister stated that not enough improvements had been made to exit special measures. We were told there were still big challenges to overcome, not least in mental health.

“Through continued targeted intervention, Labour Ministers remain responsible for what happens in terms of strategic direction and the delivery of services in the north, and after 5 and a half years of special measures, patients can be forgiven for being sceptical about what today’s announcement will actually mean in terms of improvements to services.

“Plaid Cymru believes that the board’s problems are chronic and structural, and that major changes are still required. That’s why we say it’s time for a fresh start, with new health and care structures serving the north instead of the current Board which is too large and remote from the communities it serves. Patents and staff deserve better, and I thank those hard working frontline staff for their work and commitment during such a difficult year.”

ENDS.

RHUN AP IORWERTH UNVEILS PLAN FOR YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH ‘ONE STOP SHOPS’

Rhun ap Iorwerth announces new plan to support young people’s mental wellbeing

A Plaid Cymru Government would establish Wales-wide hubs to provide mental health support for young people, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Shadow Health Minister has said.

The hubs would offer early intervention for young people who are not ill enough to require advanced psychiatric treatment, yet require support for their mental health. They would offer pre-arranged counselling and could deal with emergencies and other walk-ins.

Mr ap Iorwerth said that the “one stop shop” Hubs would “revolutionise” the way young people access support for their mental health, and, in being linked to other health services, would help join up an “increasingly fragmented service”.

The fully costed scheme mirrors a similar concept that has been launched in New Zealand, with the town-centre locations offering services by physicians, nurses, counsellors, social workers and youth staff.

A new study by Swansea and Cardiff Universities shows that Wales faces a wave of mental health problems in the wake of Covid-19, with younger adults, women and people from deprived areas suffering the most.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,

“With young people being increasingly affected by Covid restrictions and self-isolation requirements, and waiting times for non-Covid services ever lengthening, we don’t really know how many young people might currently be in need of mental health support.

“The changes needed in terms of services that are available, and access to them, should be nothing short of revolutionary. Plaid’s one-stop shop hubs will be a key part of that transformation of services for young people.

“The focus will be on mental health and wellbeing. These hubs would offer counselling both by appointment but also – crucially – on a walk-in basis. We already have walk-in services for physical problems in our A&E departments, so it’s only right that there should be walk-in services for those experiencing mental health problems.

“No young person should be left feeling like they have no support, especially following one of the biggest periods of upheaval in living memory. Left unchecked, poor mental health in childhood and adolescence is linked to mental health problems in adulthood, and so it’s really important to make early interventions easy accessible to any young person that needs them.”

ENDS

“Let’s see that data and evidence is being used effectively to keep people safe”

Rhun ap Iorwerth calls for more protection for people in areas of high prevalence.

As the national lockdown ended last night, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn and Plaid Cymru Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth MS calls for additional measures to help keep people safe in areas of high prevalence:

“With the national lockdown now having come to an end, most people will see that there’ll be a need for basic level of Wales-wide restrictions for some time, but hopefully that can be a relatively low and sustainable set of rules that we can all learn to live with.

“But where we have more localised clusters or areas of particularly high prevalence, it makes sense to have a more enhanced set of rules to bring down the R rate and help protect people in these areas. This should be backed with significant community and financial support until infection levels are brought back under control.

“We do have serious levels of the virus in some areas – people are rightly concerned about this, and Government needs to tell us how it intends to respond to that. Government have the data, they have the evidence, so let’s see that data and evidence being used effectively to keep people safe.”

ENDS.

WE NEED TO WAKE UP TO THE CRISIS IN OUR HOSPITALS

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS renews calls for ‘Green’ COVID-free hospitals

Responding to the news that there were nearly 200 cases of hospital-acquired coronavirus cases in the last week, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn and Plaid Cymru Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth said:

“If we were ever in doubt about the severe strain Wales’ health service is under as a result of the pandemic, today is another wake-up call. After the emerging of the seven-fold increase in waiting lists, and a Macmillan report showing deeply concerning backlogs to cancer services, we now find out that nearly 200 patients have contracted Coronavirus in our hospitals in the last week.

“People must have confidence that Government is doing all it can to urgently provide ‘Green’ COVID-free, or ‘COVID-light’ sites for diagnosis and treatment. And given how quickly the virus can spread when it gets into health and care settings, they must have confidence also in steps taken to keep the virus out in the first place. I don’t want people who may need treatment deciding to stay away, shoring up more serious problems for themselves and the health service.”

ENDS

Earlier treatment of suspected Covid cases could have saved hundreds of lives

Mr ap Iorwerth wrote to the Health Minister in March and April, urging the Welsh Government to promote blood oxygen tests and the use of CPAP breathing support as a means of detecting Covid-19 early in people with relevant symptoms, and providing earlier treatment to avoid the need for intensive care ventilation. Early evidence showed this could save lives and take pressure off the NHS.

He said Ministers were “frighteningly slow” in updating guidance for health professionals and that “two months of inaction between the correspondence and the change in approach may have resulted in catastrophic consequences.”

Now, more than four months on, the Welsh Government has finally issued a statement highlighting the benefits of this earlier intervention and promising new resources to deliver this new approach.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Plaid Cymru Shadow Health Minister said,

“International evidence has consistently highlighted that intervening earlier, through the use of pulse oximeters, CPAP machines and blood oxygen level tests, could lead to better outcomes in Covid-19 positive cases.

“Plaid Cymru has, on many occasions over a period of months, asked Welsh Government to adopt this medical approach – in correspondence with the Health Minister, during questions in the Senedd, and in the Covid core group meetings with the Welsh Government.

“But they have been frighteningly slow in reacting, leading to months of inaction between the correspondence and the change in approach and a further 2 month delay in informing the Senedd and the public. This delay could have cost many lives.”

Responding to Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price MS in today’s virtual Senedd meeting, the First Minister said the NHS was overwhelmed at the time, but Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:

“The purpose of our intervention, encouraging the early identification and treatment of silent hypoxia, was precisely to take pressure off the NHS at that time, and ensure that more patients could be treated without need for intensive care ventilation, where the chances of survival are significantly reduced.”

He added:

“Is it clear that Ministers need to reflect on elements of inaction during the pandemic. It’s vital that the Welsh Government acts swiftly and decisively if we are to respond better to the second wave than the first.

“That is why the Government must publish a detailed timetable for the inquiry into the pandemic in Wales – an inquiry it has already committed to – without any further delay.”