By Mark Isherwood

MS for North Wales

As Chair of the Cross-Party Group (CPG) on Hospice and Palliative Care in the Welsh Parliament, I attended a meeting with representatives from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Specialist Palliative Care and from Mold-based ‘Same but Different’ CIC, to discuss access to coordinated end of life care in North Wales and lessons learned from the CPG’s Inquiry Report: ‘Experiences of palliative and end of life care in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic’.

Our Report includes evidence from North Wales residents who cared for their mother, who died at home, including ‘We had to resort to calling paramedics after failing to get a response from District Nurses, Palliative Care, or Out of Hours’; and from Marie Curie, showing that three out of four home deaths during the pandemic did not get the care they needed.

It also found that the pandemic saw a massive increase in demand for palliative and end of life care in the community, with deaths at home increasing by over 30% and continuing at this level today, and that demand for palliative care in the community is forecast to nearly double by 2040.

‘Same but Different’ do fantastic work raising awareness of disability and rare diseases, using the arts to give people affected by rare disease a greater voice in their community.

The latest Welsh NHS statistics revealed that for cancer services, performance decreased against the 62-day maximum wait target in June to 53.4% of patients being seen, compared to 54.1% the previous month, this is the second lowest percentage on record. The extremely low rate of reduction in 2-year waits, which have been virtually eliminated elsewhere in the UK, is still unforgivably slow and is completely overshadowed by waits across the board in our Labour-run Welsh NHS worsening.

A Written Question submitted by the Welsh Conservatives has revealed that the Welsh Government have budgeted £810,690 on marketing for the blanket 20mph speed limit roll out. With awareness so low and £503,519.96 of the budget spent so far, it raises the serious question - what has the Labour Government been spending this allocated marketing budget on!

It is extremely concerning that up to a quarter of bus services in Wales will be cut if operators fail to get further long-term government funding from the Welsh Government. Bus services in Wales provide a crucial service, with people dependent on them for work, leisure, and medical appointments. Ministers should be doing everything in their power to protect them.

For my help, email or call 0300 200 7219.