By Mark Isherwood

MS for North Wales

I called for a Statement from the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care on the Pain Management Service in North Wales, highlighting the case of a constituent, suffering with chronic pain, who has already waited over a year for an appointment with the Pain Management Service at Wrexham Maelor Hospital and has now been told that he will have to wait another two years.

He asked ‘What steps are you taking to hold them to account and bring about significant improvement, or do you consider a three-year wait for treatment acceptable?’. I therefore put that question to the Cabinet Secretary.

The Trefnydd, who manages the Welsh Government's business in the Senedd, said she would raise this with the Cabinet Secretary, and also the Cabinet Secretary for North Wales.

Ahead of Wednesday’s ‘Homes not Hospitals’ protest outside the Senedd, I also called for a Statement from the same Cabinet Secretary on action by the Welsh Government to reduce the numbers of Autistic people or people with a learning disability still locked up in Assessment and Treatment Centres in Wales and England.

I stated: “There has been a learning disability strategy in place in Wales since 2018, which seeks to ensure that Autistic people or people with a learning disability who are in long-term placements are discharged and able to live their lives in the community. However, Learning Disability Wales states that ‘approximately 150 Autistic people or people with a learning disability are known to be in a hospital setting, over two thirds for over 10 years’, although numbers don't include all people and all settings. We therefore need to know why such a high number are still in long-term hospital placements.”

As Chair of the Senedd’s Cross-Party Autism Group, I was concerned to learn that both neurodiverse diagnosis waiting times and demand have doubled in North Wales.

The neurodevelopmental service in North Wales is over-stretched and under-resourced, with unacceptable waiting times for children impacting massively on their education. We need to see support for the parents and children who are going through this, and a substantial workforce plan to recruit the staff needed to tackle these long waits.

The Welsh Conservatives brought forward a motion on transport, highlighting the North/South transport divide in Wales, and calling on the Welsh Government to review their current road building tests, adopt a targeted approach to 20mph speed limits and invest in public transport. The Labour Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru voted this down.