By Sarah Atherton

MP for Wrexham

I hope that everyone had an enjoyable Easter and a relaxing Bank Holiday weekend with friends and family.

Recently, I was delighted to visit the Salvation Army in Wrexham to see how they are utilising almost £50,000 worth of UK Government Shared Prosperity Funding for their ‘Employment Programme’. This programme enables the Salvation Army to fund an Employment Development Coordinator to work with up to 60 people who have, for a variety of reasons, been out of work for a long time. I was pleased to meet the team at the Salvation Army and hear how the programme is making a difference to individuals in the community by supporting them to learn new skills and find employment.

I was also able to meet those who have benefitted from the programme, many of whom are military veterans who are receiving help and support in transitioning from active service to civilian employment. It was encouraging to hear that the programme is showing how skills that veterans have developed during military service can also be utilised in a work environment. In addition, as a member of HMP Berwyn’s Employment Board, it was positive to hear that the programme also assists ex-offenders into employment.

The Salvation Army’s work to support those in need and break down barriers to employment is commendable and I am delighted to see that this UK Government investment is being used to make a positive difference to local people and our local community.

Turning to health, a large number of constituents have recently contacted me about the potential cut to the Metastatic Cancer Nurse position in Wrexham. Earlier this month, I wrote to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) to raise both mine and residents’ concerns. In their response, which I received last week, the Health Board confirmed that this post is being funded for a further three months whilst an evaluation is carried out on the service, after which the Health Board will make a decision on the permanent funding for the post.

As a former nurse, I know how important the support and guidance provided by the Metastatic Cancer Nurses is to patients fighting cancer. It is deeply troubling that this cut is being considered by the Health Board due to financial challenges. At a time when only 52.9% of Welsh patients are starting treatment within two months of a diagnosis, well below the 75% target, resources should be provided to enhance cancer services in Wrexham – not scale them back or remove much-needed nurses.

The Welsh Government, which is responsible for running the NHS in Wales, consistently argues that it does not receive enough money from the UK Government to sufficiently fund health services in Wales. This is simply untrue. The Welsh Government has the money available and in fact, receives £1.20 for every £1 spent on healthcare in England. Yet, last year, the Welsh Government chose to spend only £1.05 per person.

Despite receiving £18 billion a year from the UK Government to run Wales and an additional £170 million in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, the Welsh Government continues to underfund our Health Board and neglects Wrexham’s health service. Instead, Labour invest £32 million on a blanket 20mph policy, £52 million on Cardiff airport and £120 million to increase the number of politicians at the Senedd.

I have written to the Minister for Health and Social Care to press for more funding to be provided by the Welsh Government to ensure that the Metastatic Cancer Nurse in Wrexham remains in post and permanently funded, so that they can continue to provide invaluable support to local patients. In addition, I will be exploring other avenues to make sure that Wrexham patients do not miss out on this vital service. I will keep residents updated via my website and social media.

If you have not done so already, I am calling on you to sign my healthcare campaign to ensure that the Welsh Government hears our message loud and clear. Wrexham deserves a far higher standard of healthcare. To demand change, click on the ‘Health Survey’ on my website:

If you are a resident in the current Wrexham constituency boundary and need my assistance with any local or national issues, please contact me on: