Happy New Year
Welcome to 2020, a New Year and a new decade. I hope you enjoyed Christmas and New Year, but I also think about those who do not always find it an easy time of year. I posted an end of year review for 2019 on to my website.
The political year has not started well with the alarming escalation of tensions in Iran, and the terrible suffering in the Australian wildfires. These events provide much food for thought as we move in to 2020.
Choose well – Help our NHS
One of the campaigns that I try to promote at this time of year is the “Choose Well” campaign. We all know that the emergency departments in our hospitals can be subject to severe seasonal demands especially, though not exclusively, in the winter months.
The “Choose Well” campaign reminds us that depending on our symptoms there are a range of opportunities to get advice about our health including community pharmacies and minor injury units. It means we all play our small part in helping the Welsh NHS cope with the extra demands.
For a similar reason I was recently pleased to meet with the Red Cross and discuss the wide range of services they now provide to assist people at times of need and in crisis. They played a role in relation to supporting people in the recent residential home investigations in Gwent, and also I met Red Cross representatives on my pre-Christmas visit to Prince Charles hospital.
The service at the hospital is funded as part of the Welsh Government’s response to Winter pressures and provides a “Wellbeing and Home Safe Service” so that people leaving the emergency department are adequately supported on return home.
Thanks to local schools
In the lead up to Christmas I also had the chance to visit a number of local schools and take part in Christmas festivities and prize giving. I am always impressed by the efforts of our schools, their staff and pupils and the Christmas concerns are guaranteed to provide some smiles and fun. Thanks to you all.
Welsh Government budget
As members of the Senedd we are now examining the draft Welsh Budget. Each Senedd Committee scrutinises Ministers on their spending proposals.
The whole process is truncated this year due to the recent UK General Election. However after a decade of Tory cuts we are now seeing some money return to the system for our essential public services. It is still not enough to make up for previous cuts in the Budget, nor to meet the wide range of demands for extra spending.
The draft Budget includes the initial settlements for both Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly councils who are themselves involved in setting their own budgets.
Supporting local policing
I have taken the opportunity early in the New Year to spend time with both Gwent and South Wales Police representatives. Both Forces have had some successes in recent months and it is good to be out walking local communities with them, and de-briefing on key issues.
As always please use the 101 service to raise concerns and share intelligence, and 999 in an emergency.
Congratulations to Gerald Jones MP
I am of course delighted that the Rhymney valley’s own Gerald Jones was re-elected to the Westminster Parliament in December. Gerald and I will continue our close working relationship. If you need to contact us get in touch with our respective offices. Mine is at 110 High Street, Merthyr Tydfil. Ring 01685 386672.