Last week saw the formal start of what I believe is the most important consultation for us in Mid Wales in a generation. Please take time to read about the NHS "Future Fit" Consultation below.
I hope you find my monthly e-news useful. I look forward to any feedback and if you would like to raise an issue with me, please get in touch in the usual way by phone on 01686 610887 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire
Have your say on health changes - NHS "Future Fit" Consultation
The 14-week public consultation on the future of NHS services in Shropshire opened last week and it's incredibly important that the people of Montgomeryshire have their say.
I can't stress enough how important it is for us to respond to this consultation in order to be able to get the best deal for us in North Powys.
I have been unashamedly in favour of the preferred option which sees an emergency centre located in Shrewsbury which is centrally located to serve the healthcare needs of the wider region and those of us here in Montgomeryshire.
This option would also mean that planned care would be located in Telford. This, I believe, allows us to make a case for some planned care to be delivered in Mid Wales.
This important consultation has been a long time coming but now that it is here, we all need to ensure that we get the right result for the current and future healthcare needs of the people of Powys for today's generation and the next!
There will be a series of pop-up style roadshows, public exhibitions and a survey for people to share their views.
The main public drop-in exhibition event when clinicians from Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals will visit Montgomeryshire to explain the proposals and listen to local views will take place as follows:
- 28 June, 3.30pm to 7.30pm, Newtown Elephant and Castle
In addition pop-up events will take place across North Powys where people can drop-in at any time:
- 13 June 10am - 12noon, Y Plas, Machynlleth (combined event with Hywel Dda “Our Big NHS Change” consultation)
- 13 June 2pm - 4pm, Llanidloes Library (combined event with Hywel Dda “Our Big NHS Change” consultation)
- 14 June 10am - 1pm, Newtown Tesco
- 14 June 1pm - 4.30pm and 5pm - 7pm, Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant Public Hall
- 23 June, 10am - 4pm, Newtown Bear Lanes Shopping Centre
- 27 June, 10am - 12noon, Montgomery Library
- 13 July, 10am - 12noon, Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant Church
- 13 July, 2pm - 4pm and 5pm - 7pm, Llanfyllin Library
- 19 July, 10am - 12noon Welshpool Town Hall
- 19 July, 2pm - 4pm, Llanfair Caereinion Medical Practice
- 19 July, 5pm - 7pm, Welshpool TBC
- 22 August, 6pm - 8pm, Kerry Herbert Arms
Further events are being arranged, and I will update you on further events in my July e-news.
There are two options for consideration:
The preferred Future Fit option which has been put forward by Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin clinical commissioning groups includes siting the county’s emergency department at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH). Under that model, Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) would take on responsibility for providing planned care. Both the RSH and PRH would also house an urgent care centre which would deal with most walk-in patient cases.
The second option would be for Princess Royal Hospital to house Shropshire’s emergency department and for Royal Shrewsbury Hospital to become the planned care site. Again, both hospitals would have an urgent care centre that would be open 24 hours a day. Health bosses say consultant-led women and children’s services would have to be on the same site as the emergency department. However, women and children’s services would still be available on the other site, including a midwife-led unit.
The consultation can be viewed at the following dedicated NHS Future Fit website and is open until 4th September: https://nhsfuturefit.org
Potential Growth Deal for Mid Wales
The UK Government's Industrial Strategy puts great emphasis on addressing the regional disparity in economic prosperity and the skills shortages which exist within Wales, which if successfully addressed, will drive increases in productivity and social mobility in Mid Wales.
In order to do this, I have argued that Mid Wales should have a growth deal.
Last month, I was pleased to be able to arrange a meeting with the Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Ken Skates AM, in an effort to make further progress on such a Growth Deal.
I also invited other Assembly Members who represent Mid Wales to join the meeting as I think it is particularly important that we have a cross party approach if we are going to achieve the necessary funding from the UK Conservative Government in London and the Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff Bay.
During the meeting, the Cabinet Secretary, Ken Skates, provided an update on his recent meeting with the UK Government Minister responsible for the Growth Deal, Lord Nick Bourne, and the Leaders of the two local authorities, Powys and Ceredigion.
In the meeting, Mr Skates said he had urged both local authorities to engage with businesses, the public and other stakeholders to identify the issues which are holding back the Mid Wales economy as well as the potential solutions and big ticket ideas which will play a role in the long term regeneration of the Mid Wales economy.
I will keep you posted with developments.
Minister questioned on mobile coverage
Last month, I had the opportunity to question the responsible Minister, Julie James AM, on what the Welsh Government is doing the improve mobile coverage in Wales.
18 months ago, the Welsh Government announced the intention to publish their Mobile Action Plan which I have to say has been characterised by a distinct lack of action to date. Regrettably, in her replies to me, I didn't hear anything to tell me what actual measures they have undertaken or plan to undertake to improve mobile coverage in the near future.
Changes to the planning rules and non-domestic rate relief have already taken place in place in England and in Scotland, and we're now playing catch-up in Wales with the Welsh Government refusing to take the measures necessary to promote the roll-out of mobile infrastructure which would enable operators to share masts and invest in their networks.
New pledge to boost electric vehicle use
A few weeks ago, at the Welsh Conservative Party Conference, I announced new proposals to boost the use of electric vehicles across Wales if we were to form the next Welsh Government.
Electric vehicles have the potential to deliver a host of benefits including reduced carbon emissions, lower running costs and safety improvements.
Electric car usage is growing in Wales, and will become increasingly more important in light of ambitious UK Government targets to see our roads free of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Therefore, to ensure that Wales becomes a leading nation in the adoption of this new technology, we are proposing the introduction of two new key policy measures in order to help Wales take advantage of electric vehicle technology including the roll out of 10,000 electric vehicle charging points across Wales by 2030 and the creation of a centre for excellence and research into energy storage and transportation.
I will continue to promote these proposals to the Welsh Government.
The Rotary Club "Big Rough Sleep Out"
Last month, I reported that I would be sleeping in a cardboard box at Newtown College campus as part of the Rotary Club's "Big Rough Sleep Out" on 18th May to raise awareness of homelessness both home and abroad.
Well, I survived the night and it was great to be able to support this event. The Rotary Club expect to support the Newtown Foodbank, Ponthafren Association, The Wallich and Shelterbox but there will be other beneficiaries.
The Rapid Relief Team (RRT) took on one of the most important responsibilities for providing refreshments which was very welcome.
Thanks also go to the generous support of local individuals, groups and businesses which are too numerous to mention but you know who you are.
General Data Protection Regulations
New rules have been brought in to protect your data – General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). These rules give you more control of your data.
My office and I have always been careful with your data. I have updated my Privacy Notice to keep it in line with these new rules. You can read this here.
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I will be in the following areas for advice surgeries. Please call 01686 610887 for an appointment.
- Friday 8th June – Machynlleth
- Saturday 9th June - Llanfyllin
- Monday 18th June – Newtown
- Friday 22nd June – Llanbrynmair
- Friday 29th June – Welshpool
You can also make an appointment with me in either my Newtown or Welshpool office most Fridays. You can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01686 610887.