By Lesley Griffiths

MS for Wrexham

Health is a subject close to people’s hearts and we know that waiting times and waiting lists have grown because of the Covid pandemic.

To help address the situation, the Welsh Government has launched ambitious new proposals to transform planned care, ultimately aiming to ensure no one will be waiting more than a year for treatment in most specialties by Spring 2025. An extra £60m has been outlined for Health Boards, meaning the Welsh Government has now pledged more than £1bn this Senedd term to help the NHS recover from the pandemic. There is no quick fix and we will undoubtedly live with the consequences of the pandemic for years to come.

However, I welcome this bold strategy and I am pleased the Welsh Government is committed to working with our fantastic NHS to ensure patients are treated as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, my latest meeting with the Chair of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board took place last week.

I ensure these meetings happen regularly to allow me to raise any local issues with him directly and to make sure the authorities are aware of patients’ experiences.

I’m also pleased the Welsh Government has confirmed it will extend the NHS Wales Bursary scheme until at least 2024.

Student nurses, midwives and healthcare professionals who commit to working in Wales up to two years after qualifying are eligible for the bursary. The support is non-repayable and covers tuition fees in full, as well as living costs.

By continuing to fund the bursary scheme, the Welsh Labour Government is demonstrating its ongoing commitment to training the next generation of nurses and midwives, helping safeguard the future of the NHS.

As the football season reaches its climax, the National League confirmed this year’s playoff final will be held at the London Stadium, much to the disappointment of many Wrexham AFC fans.

While there is no guarantee Wrexham will be involved, I share the fans’ frustrations. Wales are set to play Ukraine or Scotland on the same day with a place at the World Cup at stake meaning some loyal fans will have to choose between club and country.

Moreover, its looking increasingly likely the playoff positions will be occupied by northern clubs so I struggle to see how a trip to a busy London on a Sunday during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations can be the “perfect fit”, as was suggested in the National League’s press release.

I’ve written to the Chairman of the National League and will share his response with constituents.