‘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

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS calls for additional resources to deal with DVLA backlog

2 month delay to process paper licence applications and renewals causes concern

In response to a number of enquiries from constituents with concerns about their driving licence renewals and applications, Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP, calling for additional resources for the DVLA in order to clear the significant backlog. Whilst online applications’ turnaround is now reported as being back to normal, the DVLA provides regular updates stating that they continue to experience significant delays in processing paper applications.

 

The DVLA website currently states that they are currently processing paper applications received on 9 November, and that Covid-19 safety measures and the impact of previous industrial action are to blame for ongoing issues.

The Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn has called on UK Government to implement additional resources in its Swansea-based DVLA handling centre to tackle the current backlog and end the disruption and worry for those caught in the process.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:

 

“It’s concerning that the DVLA are so behind in processing paper applications – many constituents have been getting in touch with me, worried that they are yet to receive their new driving licence. It must also be a huge strain on the staff themselves who are dealing with what looks to be a huge volume of applications in the system.”

“I’ve written to the Department of Transport, calling on the Secretary of State to invest additional resources to respond to this backlog. Many of those who will have applied by paper will be people with little or no access to online services or have complex cases where medical forms will have been provided, so it’s a worrying time for them. My constituents need assurances that steps are in place to restore services post-covid.”

Copy of letter to – Rt Hon Grant Shapps – DVLA

CALL FOR ALL-WALES CANCER STRATEGY AS WAITING TIMES HIT RECORD NUMBERS

calls have been made for early diagnostic centres and end to postcode lottery

The Welsh Government must publish an all-Wales cancer strategy to tackle the growing waiting lists for treatment and diagnosis, Plaid Cymru has said.

The call was made today (4 February) on World Cancer Day.

 

The spokesperson for health and social care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said that Wales urgently needed a long-term plan to tackle backlog and staff shortages as part of an “all-Wales cancer strategy to prioritise early diagnosis, recognise the thousands currently undiagnosed and ensure adequate care for those patients in later stages of cancer who will need more complex treatments”.

Mabon ap Gwynfor, Member of Senedd for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, who has long campaigned for diagnostic centres across Wales to ensure cancer patients aren’t subject to a postcode lottery, said that ensuring early diagnosis and that gaps in the workforce should be a priority in any cancer strategy.

The issue is very close to Mr ap Gwynfor’s heart after his father, Guto, was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 and has been receiving treatment throughout the pandemic.

Mr ap Gwynfor said that even before the pandemic, Wales had significant gaps in the workforce that diagnose and treat cancer. This makes an all-Wales cancer strategy all the more important.

It has been two years since Wales had a Cancer Strategy – putting the country at odds with the World Health Organisation’s recommendations that every country should have one in place.

Around 20,000 people a year in Wales are diagnosed with cancer and an estimated 170,000 people are living with the disease in its various forms.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS added,

“The pandemic’s impact on cancer treatment and diagnosis has been, and continues to be, devastating.

 

“The Welsh Government must urgently introduce a plan to tackle the backlog and staff shortages created by the pandemic as part of a wider all-Wales cancer strategy to prioritise early diagnosis, recognise the thousands currently undiagnosed and ensure adequate care for those patients in later stages of cancer who will need more complex treatments.

 

“Now is not the time to be without a cancer strategy. Wales has amongst the worst cancer outcomes in Europe, and this will only get worse if action isn’t taken.

 

“In the meantime, anyone who has any worry, any symptom, should please, please make an appointment with your GP.”

 

Mabon ap Gwynfor MS added,

 

“Early diagnosis is key to ending the worrying trend in cancer survival rates in Wales.

 

“Any cancer strategy must include long term plans to ensure early diagnosis the development of Rapid Diagnostic Centres is a welcomed development, but for us to get to grips with cancer in a meaningful way we need to plug the huge gaps in workforce.

 

“A priority in the strategy to treat and beat cancer must reflect how these rapid diagnostic centres are staffed, and how recruitment generally in cancer diagnosis and treatment is secured for the long term.

 

“Cancer doesn’t care about geography, but patients do. They deserve parity of service, wherever they live.

 

“Scotland and England have Cancer Strategies with a buy in from their respective Health or Commissioning Boards. This strategy gives them clear targets and ensures that they have a laser like focus. But Wales doesn’t have that comprehensive strategy, instead we have an incoherent mishmash of programmes and frameworks. If we are serious about getting to grips with Cancer then we need a Cancer strategy.”

“Time to Talk Day : Rhun ap Iorwerth shares Mental Health research findings”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has today shared with Welsh Government the results of a mental health survey that he recently conducted among young people. It found that many are still too scared to talk about their mental health problems and going to seek help.

 

In November and December 2021, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS asked young people to share their experiences of accessing mental health services in Wales. He’d launched te survey in a Senedd debate and as well as being shared on his social media accounts, the survey was promoted by other Members and organisations involved with young people and/or mental health.

 

On this year’s #TimeToTalkDay, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has published the research results of the survey and has shared the findings with Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

 

Rhun ap Iorwerth said – “I wanted to get a snapshot of the experiences of young people in seeking help with mental health issues, and I am very grateful to everyone who took part in helping me to do that.”

 

He added – “I was saddened to read some individuals’ experiences of mental health services – that they do not feel they have enough time to discuss, that they are not taken seriously, or that they are passed from one place to another or find it difficult to get any response.

 

“It seemed appropriate to release this report on ‘Time to Talk Day’ as our findings showed how important it is for people not to be afraid to talk about mental health issues. And with so many saying that they would be most comfortable turning to friends or family, it is important that we ALL have the confidence to talk about mental health.”

 

The report will also be shared on Rhun ap Iorwerth’s social media pages.

CERVICAL SCREENING STRATEGY CHANGES “MUST BE EXPLAINED CLEARLY AND DIRECTLY”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS writes to Health Minister asking her to “allay fears” of thousands worried in Wales

 

The spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS has today (Thursday 6 January 2022) written to the Health Minister to ask her contact everyone affected by the recent increase to cervical screening intervals to better explain the reasons behind the change.

petition to Welsh Government to keep cervical screening to 3 years (and not extended to 5 years) has been signed more than 741,000 times, and the number continues to rise.

The spokesperson for health and care, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said,

 

“Many thousands of people in Wales are concerned about the recent changes to cervical screening – a move that has taken many by surprise, and which was accompanied by a surprising lack of detail.

 

“Having reviewed the evidence, and having received further information from Cancer Research UK, I’m satisfied that this is an evidence-based change, due to improved understanding of the relationship between screening, the HPV vaccine and the risk of cancer.

 

“But this must be explained clearly and directly, and that is why I have written to the Health Minister to ask her to contact everyone in Wales affected by these changes – as a matter of urgency – to better explain the reasons behind the change in screening strategy.”

Celebration of Nursing event held in the Senedd to thank our nurses.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS paid tribute and met with frontline nurses who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic

In an event held by the Royal College of Nursing in the Senedd last week to thank our nurses, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS met with nurses from north Wales who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic, shown dedication to their patients and continue to provide high quality care day after day.

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn, and  spokesperson for Health and Care said:

“It was a pleasure to attend the event to celebrate and speak with our fantastic nurses who have dedicated their lives to the profession. They have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and continue to provide quality care, day in day out.

 “Our nurses and healthcare workers have made huge sacrifices and they deserve a fair wage and meaningful support to make this an attractive career option for more people, and a robust retention strategy. I led a debate in the Senedd last month calling on Welsh Government to truly show their appreciation by implementing those recommendations and continue to support calls for a real-terms pay rise.”

“I call on all men to pledge never to commit, excuse or remain quiet about violence against women and girls”

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS represents his party at candlelit vigil to mark White Ribbon Day 2021

 Today (25 November) is White Ribbon Day – recognised around the world as the largest global initiative to end male violence against women and girls by calling on men to take action to make a difference. Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn, attended and spoke at a candlelit vigil held on the steps of the Senedd earlier this week, organised by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes – Wales.

Following the event, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS said:

“It was an honour to speak as one of the White Ribbon ambassadors in the event outside the Senedd again this year and to reiterate the White Ribbon promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.

“In March of this year, the tragic murder of Sarah Everard generated a public conversation around girls and women not feeling safe in our society.  The reaction by some unfortunately showed that too often, as a society we place the onus on women to keep themselves safe, not on men to stop attacking women.  We must be clear that the responsibility to end violence against women and girls does not lie with women altering or modifying their behaviour, restricting their movements, or limiting their freedoms or fun. The onus sits with perpetrators not to commit these criminal offences.”

RESPONDING TO LABOUR MP BACKING WALES SPECIFIC COVID INQUIRY

A response to the news that the Labour Member of Parliament for Islwyn, Chris Evans MP, has backed calls for an independent Welsh Covid Inquiry.

Health Spokesperson, Rhun ap Iorwerth, said:

“We have long-called for a Wales specific Covid enquiry. In fact we called for getting an inquiry framework set up in the early days of the pandemic, so evidence could start to be gathered in ‘real time’.

“Wales rightly acted independently in so many areas during the pandemic and with so many of the relevant policy areas devolved, and so many decisions having been taken in Wales, we need a Wales-specific inquiry. The Welsh Government has got to take responsibility for its actions – good and bad, and there should be no avoidance of detailed scrutiny.

“As positive as it may be to hear one lone Labour voice agreeing with us, what we need is for the Welsh Labour Government to change its mind and do the right thing.”

Local solution offered to port parking problem.

There are fears that the recent closure of the Roadking Lorry park has brought lorry parking troubles to Holyhead once again. 

 

Before the Roadking development, local residents were reporting regular problems with lorries parking and causing nuisance around the town. Now there are calls for help for a local company who have offered one solution to the problem that result from HMRC taking over the roadking site.

 

Kevin Bryant and Paula Goodsir of Goodsir Coaches have opened a Truckstop on the Penrhos industrial estate. Already, they have built a loyal customer base, but the site needs further investment in order to make it a permanent arrangement.

 

Kevin Bryant said – “This is a good business opportunity, creating jobs locally, but it’s a response to a problem that we have here, we need spaces for lorries to park around Holyhead.”

 

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Senedd member for Ynys Môn, who has been supporting Goodsir coaches and their enterprise, and has written to Anglesey County Council and the Welsh Government to seek their support.

 

He said – “I know from past experience the nuisance caused by the lack of proper lorry parking facilities in Holyhead. I’m already hearing reports of lorries parking around the town and as we look for a new solution, here we have what could certainly be a part of the answer and I’m hoping this local company are given the support they deserve – it will not only help them, but also the town of Holyhead.