By Mark Isherwood

MS for North Wales

I joined fellow Welsh Conservative MSs in North Wales for a meeting with North Wales Community Health Council (CHC), the independent watchdog of NHS services across North Wales, to discuss current issues facing patients in North Wales, including Mental Health Services, Vascular Services, Urology Services, GP Practices and Emergency Departments.

North Wales CHC acts as the eyes and ears of patients and the public in our region. However, the Welsh Government are replacing them with an all-Wales ‘Citizen Voice Body’ from April 2023.

During an online meeting with the General Manager of Shotton Mill, we discussed Eren Holdings’ plans to convert the site from a newsprint mill to container board and corrugated packaging manufacturer, to develop the land opposite for tissue paper manufacture, and to create around 600 new jobs for local people in addition to the current labour force, with an investment of around £600 million for the local area.

I had an online meeting with the Chief Executive of Hourglass, the only charity in Wales solely focused on ending the harm and abuse of older people, to discuss their work and the 24/7 helpline launched by Hourglass Cymru, the first of its kind in Wales with a specialism around elder abuse. The UK Home Office have supported this service in England, the Scottish Government is looking at a funding arrangement for the service in Scotland and they have traction in Northern Ireland, but Hourglass is using its own meagre reserves to fund the service in Wales. They receive over 15,000 calls annually in Wales and the Welsh Government needs to understand that this need is not met by generic Domestic Abuse services, and support the helpline.

As Chair of the Welsh Parliament’s Cross-Party Group (CPG) for Funerals and Bereavement, I had an online meeting with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Funerals and Bereavement in the UK Houses of Parliament to discuss the shortage of available grave spaces in many parts of England and Wales and the re-use of graves. The CPG we will be conducting a consultation exercise to help us arrive at a policy position on this.

As Chair of the CPG on Disability, I had a call with the CPG’s Secretary, from Disability Wales, to discuss actions following the CPG’s recent meeting and our future work programme.

Other engagements included an online meeting with the Head of Welsh Affairs at the Solicitors Regulation Authority, meetings with constituents, and a HM Revenue & Customs ‘Stakeholder Interview’.

If you need my help, email or call 0300 200 7219.