By Mark Isherwood

MS for North Wales

As a Patron of charity ‘Your Space’, which supports young people with Autism and related conditions, and their families, I was delighted to attend their coffee morning at Llay Miners Welfare Institute, marking World Autism Awareness Day. The theme for World Autism Awareness Day 2024 is 'Empowering Autistic Voices’.

Autistic people face discrimination and barriers in the health and social care systems, in education, in employment, and everywhere in between.

I joined representatives of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and of Tennis Wales at Wrexham Tennis Centre, the biggest in Wales, for the Lexus Welsh Junior Tennis Open.

We discussed tennis activity in Wrexham and across North Wales, including work being done through the LTA Youth programme to get more children and young people active; UK Government funding in Wales for the Park Tennis Project, delivered by the LTA, to refurbish public tennis courts and open the sport to more people; disability tennis; and the £2 million UK Government Shared Prosperity Funding for Wrexham Tennis Centre’s Development Project, backed by £300,000 from Sport Wales and a £500,000 LTA interest-free loan.

I met with Specsavers to further discuss audiology services in Wales.

Specsavers is commissioned by every NHS Health Board in Wales to provide specialist eye health services in the community, but adult hearing loss services in Wales are provided exclusively by NHS Health Boards.

The population of adults with age-related hearing loss is large and growing. Although the Welsh model of primary care audiology improves accessibility, patients continue to face substantial delays across Wales.

Independent providers like Specsavers hold NHS audiology contracts in England, and Specsavers wants to see a primary care audiology service in Wales providing high-quality, cost effective and timely treatment in the community, including wax management.

As Chair of the Cross-Party Group on Hospice and Palliative Care in the Welsh Parliament, I was pleased to re-visit St. Kentigern Hospice, Saint Asaph, for a meeting with their Chief Executive Officer and their Board Chair, and a tour of their modernized facilities. Discussion included the need for their vision as a specialist palliative & end of life care unit to be recognised.

As the Wales Species Champion for the Curlew, I visited representatives of the Dee Valley Environmental Network to discuss concerns about the environmental impact of the proposed Gaerwen Wind Farm, near Corwen, on the Mynydd Mynyllod landscape. This site is both an important area for species including Curlew and an area rich in peat, a carbon sink.

For my help, email or call 0300 200 7219.