By Sarah Atherton

MP for Wrexham

On Saturday night it was an absolute privilege to be invited by Producer Gareth Butler, to the British International Tattoo’s “A Slice of The British Isles – In Concert” performance, celebrating the best of the British Isles in song, dance and tradition. The event was in support of The Not Forgotten Charity, that looks after the service personnel and veterans in the UK. As a veteran, I am passionate about supporting our armed forces personnel and veterans, so it was great to attend this event at Coleg Cambria on Saturday in support of our veterans while celebrating our long-standing traditions and arts from around the British Isles.

On a less upbeat note, unsurprisingly in Wrexham this past week, matters of health and healthcare have remained at the top of my agenda following further reports of increasing wait times at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital along with delays across the Ambulance service. I was pleased that Mark Isherwood, Member of the Senedd for the North Wales region, raised the matter in the Senedd saying, “waiting times at Wrexham Maelor A&E Department have got to atrocious levels. I've been discussing this with one of our junior doctors who does locums in the department. He confirmed that waiting times are indeed extremely long, and said the issue was that there is no space to see patients.” Sadly, this is a story that marries with what I have been hearing and receiving into my inbox too.

In response to these growing worries, I have already arranged meet with Ian Donnelly, the Managing Director of the Wrexham Maelor Hospital, to discuss the experiences residents have had and to seek assurances that improvement plans are in place to ensure that the hospital can cope over the winter months. I also raise every constituent’s experience with the team at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to ensure that they are aware of what Wrexham residents are facing too and I will continue to do this. Finally, I am also urging residents to contact the Wrexham Senedd Member to ensure that they – and the Welsh Government – know what people hear in Wrexham are facing.

For too long the NHS in Wales has been neglected by the Welsh Government. Even before the pandemic hit, waiting times in Wales doubled with 1 in 7 people on a waiting list for treatment, which was four times as many people in England. This has only got worse as a result of the pandemic: figures for July of this year show that, in Wales, waiting times were double that of England at 21.4 weeks compared to 10.9. I am therefore looking forward to hearing more about the Welsh Government’s plan for supporting the NHS in Wales out of this situation as soon as possible.

However, on a more positive note, I have also received news that my hope to see a Maggie’s Cancer Centre in North Wales is one step closer to becoming a reality, with positive steps, hopefully, coming forward soon. As soon as I have any news on this, I will make sure to share it, as I know that many people across Wrexham and North Wales would benefit from the amazing services Maggie’s Centres provide.

As always if you are resident in Wrexham and need my assistance with any local or national issue, please make contact with me by emailing sarah.atherton.mp@parliament.uk.