ALARMING STATISTICS REVEAL THAT TARGETS ARE STILL NOT BEING MET

Rhun ap Iorwerth calls for a revolution in both and health and care to improve NHS waiting times.

 

The latest NHS waiting times have been released, and reveal that targets are still not being met.

 

Across all data, targets are not being met, with ambulance response times a particular worry. .

 

Despite a decrease in attendance at A&E departments, the four and twelve hour targets were the third and second lowest on record respectively. The average time spent in emergency departments was also the second longest on record, at three hours and two minutes.

 

Although there was an improvement in cancer diagnosis and treatment from the last month, there is still a lot of improvement to be made in the efficiency for Cancer patients.

 

Rhun ap Iorwerth has continued to call for fundamental changes to be made to reduce pressure on the NHS – these include preventative measures, improved social care to help discharge patients, investment in the workforce, and specific diagnostic and treatment centres.

 

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn and Plaid Cymru’s Health and Care spokesperson:

 

“When we consider the scale of problems within the NHS, be it waiting times for diagnosis and treatment or ambulance delays, we have to think of the health and care system as a whole, and the truth is that all too often it is in gridlock. We are seeing poor patient flow through the system, together with a lack of capacity to deal with demand.

 

“To deal with demand, there has to be a revolution in attitudes towards prevention. To improve patient flow we have to strengthen social care. And to deal with capacity, we must accelerate investment in workforce and in specific measures like diagnostic and treatment centres that can be protected from emergency pressures. Without all of this, we’ll keep going around in circles.”

 

ENDS

‘INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION’ CALL BY YNYS MÔN MS AFTER NURSES’ CONCERNS RAISED IN THE SENEDD

After highlighting concerns by Ysbyty Gwynedd nurses about working conditions and treatment of staff, Rhun ap Iorwerth calls for action by Betsi Cadwaladr

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Ynys Môn’s Member of the Senedd and Plaid Cymru spokesperson on Health and Care, has written to the Chief Executive and Chair of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board asking for serious and urgent action after receiving an anonymous email outlining concerns about the working conditions of nurses at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

Rhun ap Iorwerth initially raised his concerns with the Health Minister, Eluned Morgan MS in the Senedd last week, where he asked for an assurance that the concerns – which include bullying in the workplace, pressure to move from specialist areas to other wards and departments placing patients at risk, unreasonably long working hours, a poor relationship with management resulting in low morale and many staff leaving – would be taken seriously.

As a result of that contribution in the Senedd, many more nurses have been in touch with the Ynys Môn MS, to thank him for bringing up the matter, and to bravely share their experiences, echoing concerns raised by the whistle blower who initially got in touch.

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn said:

“I was deeply saddened to learn about the very serious concerns of our nurses. Initially one nurse gathered together evidence from her colleagues and passed them to me anonymously as they were so fearful of repercussions.

“After I brought them to the attention of the Health Minister in the Senedd, nurse after nurse made contact with me to confirm and emphasise the concerns.

“I have therefore written to BCUHB, calling on them to conduct an independent investigation. It’s clear to me that there’s a lack of trust in the Health Board’s whistleblowing processes, and our nurses must be given the opportunity to be heard.

Amongst the correspondence received, many nurses have confirmed that they have left their posts at Ysbyty Gwynedd or the profession entirely, and many have stated that they are actively considering handing in their notice.

A nurse who initially contacted the Anglesey MS to express her concerns said:

“We as a workforce wanted to raise an anonymous concern about our working conditions at Ysbyty Gwynedd and contacted Rhun ap Iorwerth to that effect.

“Burnout is at an all time high at the site amongst nurses and other healthcare workers, and staff morale has never been so low. Many have chosen to leave their posts. We already work long hours and then feel pressured to take on more shifts – often redeployed to areas where we do not specialise – to help with staffing shortages. It is impossible to possess a high standard of nursing knowledge for every speciality that an individual could be covering from one day to the next.

“The situation has been escalating for years and has now reached a crisis stage with no solution.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS added:

“What’s hugely worrying is the impact that the current working conditions are having on staff numbers and morale. Some have concluded that they want to leave their posts, and that many have already left.

“At a time when we face staff shortages following the pandemic, we need to be looking at new ways of attracting new nurses to the profession and increasing training places. But we must also be able to retain the staff we already have, with their invaluable experience and knowledge.”

ENDS

‘U-TURN ON FUNDING WELCOME, ALONG WITH ASSURANCES ON WORKERS’ RIGHTS AND ENVIRONMENT’

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS will continue to make the case for Holyhead following freeport announcement

In response to the Welsh Government’s update on their freeports policy in Wales issued today (Thursday, 12 May 2022), Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn said:

“I am pleased that an agreement has been reached. The UK Government’s original proposal to give much-reduced funding to free ports in Wales was totally unacceptable, and I’m pleased to see a u-turn on that.

“I am also pleased that the Welsh Government is insisting – as I have done consistently – that fair treatment for workers and environmental responsibility must be assured under any free port agreement, and another important element is that the Welsh Government treat as an equal partner.

“I have always called for honesty on the pros and cons of freeports, and as the MS for Ynys Môn I will, of course, continue to make the case for ensuring that Holyhead and the wider island are in the strongest position to benefit from this.

ENDS

https://gov.wales/welsh-and-uk-governments-agree-establish-freeports-wales

First Minister agrees to visit Holyhead port to discuss its economic potential

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS will meet with Mark Drakeford to discuss the investment and support needed to unleash the port’s potential.

During questions to the First Minister this week, Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn took the opportunity to invite Mark Drakeford to Holyhead port to see for himself what investment is needed to ensure that the port’s “future can be a bright one for Holyhead”.

Rhun ap Iorwerth stressed that the Welsh Government must continue to urge the Irish Government to remember the importance, and to promote the direct crossings from Ireland to Wales, through Holyhead – the busiest port in Wales, following the publication of a map by the Irish Government last week celebrating the opening of 44 crossings from Ireland to the European continent.

In his question to the First Minister, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:

“As the impact of Brexit continues to cause major challenges in Holyhead, there are also major opportunities – new opportunities that we could be pursuing, and the most important of those are opportunities to develop Holyhead as the port to service the next development in wind energy in the Irish sea. And in that context, may I invite the First Minister to visit the port of Holyhead to see for himself what investment needs to be secured in that port as soon as possible to ensure that, whatever challenges we face now, the future can be a bright one for Holyhead and the workers there?”

In his response, the First Minister confirmed that Welsh Government have a major meeting later this week with Ministers from the Irish Government, where they will discuss opportunities and the potential for both countries from working collaboratively.

In his response to Rhun ap Iorwerth’s question, the First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS said:

“I am aware, of course, of the challenges facing the port of Holyhead. I would be more than happy to return to Holyhead once again to speak to people there. I agree, and I’ve read an article by the Member this week also, which focused on the opportunities that exist in Holyhead in the context of renewable energy—wind energy—and using the port to help us to create that green economy that we want to see here in Wales. And I’d be more than happy, when the opportunity arises, to come to Holyhead and to discuss the possibilities available.”

ENDS

“With more freedom must come reflection” – Rhun ap Iorwerth calls for reassurance that lessons have been learnt by government

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS calls for “increased vigilance” now, with a move towards a Wales-focused inquiry

Ahead of the expected confirmation that there is to be a further lifting of restrictions, Rhun ap Iorwerth is calling for increased focus on monitoring the spread of the virus now that more freedoms are restored.

He says this extra vigilance must coincide with reassurance that lessons have been learnt from the pandemic.

Welsh Government is expected to confirm that Wales will move to Alert Level Zero from Saturday 7 August.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Health spokesperson for Plaid Cymru, supports the move as long as Government can provide “even more stringent vigilance” and that they are “ready to take a step back if necessary.”

But Mr ap Iorwerth says that “now is the right time” to have a detailed review into the Welsh Government’s handling of the pandemic, while events of the last 18 months are still fresh in Welsh minds.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,

“The lifting of restrictions is where we all want to head, after an 18 months that has weighed heavily on us all.

“The situation has to be monitored now with even more stringent vigilance, and should there be an adverse reaction in terms of case numbers and hospital admissions due to COVID, Government must be ready to take a step back if necessary.

“We also need reassurance from government that lessons have been learnt from this time, and that is why Wales needs its own public inquiry into the Welsh Government’s handling of the pandemic.

“Government has to take responsibility for its actions – good and bad. As Wales gains more freedom, now is the right time to reflect on what we did right, and what must change, to ensure that we never have to repeat the last 18 months.”

KEEP FACE MASKS IN SHOPS, SAYS RHUN AP IORWERTH

“Is it responsible to insist a shop worker wears a face mask to see a doctor, but that same doctor doesn’t have to wear a mask in the shop?” – Rhun ap Iorwerth MS

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Rhun ap Iorwerth has called for the wearing face masks to remain mandatory in retail outlets, and said today: “Imagine a scenario where a shop worker would have to wear a face covering in order to access their local surgery, but a doctor wouldn’t to wear a mask to go to the shop?”

In questions to the First Minister, Mr ap Iorwerth also called for Welsh Government to be “uncompromising” in their protection of children and young people from the virus, including taking measures to improve ventilation in schools and rolling out vaccines.

Mr ap Iorwerth raised particular concern about the impact of Long Covid on young people, and asked for the development of Children’s Long Covid services.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, who is the Plaid Cymru’s spokesman on Health and Care, said,

“Governments shouldn’t be picking and choosing which close contact settings require the use of face masks – coronavirus certainly doesn’t make such a distinction!

“I welcome the confirmation that people will still be required to wear face coverings on public transport and in healthcare settings, but being in a busy shop is also a risk, including to staff.

“Welsh Government needs to share their reasoning behind this decision, otherwise we’ll have the situation where a shop worker will have to wear a face covering to go to their doctor, but their doctor will not have to wear a mask to visit their shop.”

Lack of urgency in addressing young people’s mental health support service waiting lists “not good enough”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has called for the same urgency as seen with the vaccine roll-out to be applied to addressing the long waiting lists for young people in need of support with their mental health.

The Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (sCAMHS) first appointment waiting times were published last week, and show that during the pandemic, at least a quarter of those referred to the service have had to wait more than 4 weeks for their first appointment.

Today, Rhun ap Iorwerth challenged the First Minister during Senedd Plenary, asking “Is that good enough?”

The Senedd’s Children, Young People and Education Committee reviewed the impact of the pandemic on young people, and identified the “missing middle” as a particular concern. This refers to the significant number of children and young people who need mental health advice and support, but who may not need acute or specialist services.

Mr ap Iorwerth extended an invitation to the Welsh Government to work with Plaid Cymru on their proposal for a network of walk-in centres across Wales offering free and confidential mental health advice and support for young people.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, who is the party’s spokesman on Health and Care said,

“A year ago our schools started reopening after a lengthy lockdown, and we know that the isolation had a heavy impact on the well-being and health of many young people.

“Throughout the year, the number of young people waiting more than four weeks for a CAMHS appointment has never fallen by under a quarter. That’s simply not good enough. We have an accelerated vaccine roll out programme, a schools catch up programme, but no urgency in addressing the long waiting lists for young people in need of support with their mental health – this needs to change.

“Welsh Government must also address the ‘missing middle’ of young people who need support with their mental health, but who are not ill enough to require advanced psychiatric treatment. Plaid Cymru has already proposed a network of mental health hubs across Wales, and extend an offer to Welsh Government to work with us in putting this into realisation.”

ENDS

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS welcomes £20m Anglesey cheese plant investment to create 100 jobs on the island.

Responding to today’s announcement on the Mona Island Dairy £20m cheese factory development on Ynys Môn, which will create 100 jobs on the island, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:

 

“I very much welcome the news. I have consistently called on the Welsh Government to invest in the food sector on Anglesey, including the possibility of creating a food production business park on the island.

 

“I hope to be able to use the Mona Island Dairy development as a further driver to push for the development of this sector, building on the existing expertise we have in the many food companies we have here on the island, to help them grow and create jobs. I will be continuing these conversations with Ministers in the coming weeks.”

Full story: Cheese plant investment on Anglesey could create 100 jobs – North Wales Live (dailypost.co.uk)

Rhun ap Iorwerth welcomes funding for hydrogen potential on Anglesey

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn, has welcomed the announcement that £4.8 million has been earmarked for the Holyhead Hydrogen Hub in the UK Government’s budget this week.

Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“I’m very pleased to hear that additional funding has been made available for this project. This is great news for Ynys Môn. Almost exactly a year after I led a Senedd debate, setting out my vision of the real potential of Hydrogen energy, we see those benefits being realised on Anglesey.

“Welsh Government supported that Plaid Cymru motion I presented last year, and subsequently provided support and funding to take the Holyhead project forward.

“I’m delighted to see this significant move forward having supported and encouraged this project from the outset. My thanks goes to the work of hydrogen energy innovator Guto Owen and the Menter Môn team for making this happen.

“It’s good to see energy innovation in action, and we in Plaid Cymru are committed to setting up the headquarters of a new national energy company, Ynni Cymru, here on the island, giving Anglesey a key role in green energy rollout Wales-wide for years to come. This hydrogen project in Holyhead is about offering greener and longer-term jobs for generations to come.”

ENDS

SCHOOL CONSULTATION: ‘PLEASE let the community be heard’

SCHOOL CONSULTATION: ‘PLEASE LET THE COMMUNITY BE HEARD’

Talwrn activists say closure consultation should not take place during a pandemic

At a time when everything is being held virtually, campaigners battling to save Ysgol Talwrn from closure feel that their voices are not being heard because of the constraints of a pandemic.
At a virtual meeting held by Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of Senedd for Ynys Môn, campaigners expressed serious concerns that the restrictions in place due to Covid-19 had affected their ability to effectively oppose Anglesey County Council’s plans. They have called on the local authority to delay the consultation process until they can object fully and fairly to the proposals. The plans would see Ysgol Talwrn close, with pupils being transferred to Ysgol y Graig in Llangefni, which would be expanded to accommodate additional pupils.

Last week, the Council’s statutory consultation period came to an end, but campaigners claim the system has not been open enough, and plans are being pushed through at a time when children are being educated from home and when groups cannot meet face to face to fully raise their concerns.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:
“At a time when we are very limited in what can be done to oppose the proposed closure of Ysgol Talwrn, campaigners have approached me because they want a fair opportunity to have their say.”
Mr ap Iorwerth has previously written to the Council asking them to delay the plans until we are on the other side of the pandemic, but has been told that the process cannot be delayed forever.

He added: “While I understand that the Council has to deal with issues other than Covid-19, there is a community that cannot fully participate in the consultation process – they can’t meet face to face, they tell me that covid restrictions, coupled with poor internet connection in the area, have affected their ability to meet in virtual reality, and as a result they feel like a “muted community.”
This is the latest in a series of consultations on the future of Ysgol Talwrn, with the Council having already postponed the current process since March 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

Rachael Jones, a childminder from Talwrn said she believed the school should have a bright future:
“The school has recently been listed as ‘Green’, the Cylch is busy and my small business is busy as a result. I am concerned about the effect the closure of the school would have on my business, but I’m really concerned about the impact it would have on our community. I know some parents are not enrolling their children at school because of the threat of closure. ”

Rhun ap Iorwerth added:
“Numerous consultations are bound to leave scars on a community, and the fact that opportunities to voice the community’s views are so limited at the moment add to the feelings of unfairness. I will write to them again following this meeting to express their opinions”