Friday, January 23, 2009

Health Issues

I'm knackered again. Been another long day. Away by 6.00 this morning to chair a conference at the Technium Centre, near Bangor. Actually it was to chair jointly with former MEP, Eurig Wyn. Conference was sponsored by RESEC Cymru - that's Research into Specialist Elderly Care. RESEC is based in Oxford University, and has recognised devolution by establishing a Welsh 'branch'. It was a terrific Conference, even if the agenda was such that there was not much room for interaction with the 130 plus crowd who turned up. The Technium Centre is an impressive location - but one very black mark today. We had to delay the start by 30 minutes because the bl***y microphone wasn't working. I may have appeared cool on the surface, but I was spitting firecrackers inside. After 30 minutes, was so cross that I could barely speak. My first rule of chairing is to stick to time. And the programme was too packed to catch up. Anyway, thanks to Ieuan Wyn Jones, Deputy First Minister for flying up to open the Conference. I do think dementia is starting to receive the higher level of awareness it deserves. Keeping momentum through the inevitable lower public spending that's coming will be a challenge. I learned a lot today.

Good news today on the campaign to persuade the Assembly Government to establish a Renal Dialysis Unit at Welshpool. We've been awaiting a date from the Chair of Kidney Foundation Wales to launch it - and today we agreed a date. Actually, the case seems to have been won. This blog has reported already that on Jan 6th, the decision (in principle) was taken at a meeting in Cardiff City Hall. But I want a good crowd to turn up at the launch, and I'll start the organising ball rolling on Monday. Put Feb 10th in your diaries.

Another health issue that really interests me was the Dragon's Eye report last night on the Health Minister, Edwina Hart's decision to develop specialist neurosurgery services in South Wales on two sites (Cardiff and Swansea) rather than on one site in Cardiff. I'm divided on this issue. I cannot disagree with my former Conservative colleague in the National Assembly, Jonathon Morgan who has really sunk his canines into the Minister's leg, describing her decision as 'reckless' and informing us that he'd 'lost confidence' in her. There seems no doubt that the Minister ignored professional advice. My only reservation is that I rather approve of Ministers sometimes taking decisions contrary to advice. I often disagree with Edwina Hart, but I respect her willingness not to be her 'official's puppet'. I do not believe she took the right decision on this issue though.


Anonymous said...

Anyway, thanks to Ieuan Wyn Jones, Deputy First Minister for flying up to open the Conference. I do think dementia is starting to receive the higher level of awareness it deserves.

Hmmmmm......Are you trying to tell us something Glyn.

Dai Aorta said...

But the other side of taking decisions is that you have to defend those decisions in public. Mrs Hart refuses to be interviewed by the press unless it is on her terms. It might have something to do with the episode when she burst into tears when she was being interviewed over the delay to the Assembly building. Fortunately for Mrs Hart when the crew got back to the studio the tape wasn't working.It is also clear that the announcement to the Westen Mail of the approval of drugs for kidney cancer was linked to the fact that she knew that Dragon's Eye would run the heart story This is very much the iron lady of Welsh politics who has feet of clay. With this decision she is more concerned with her majority in the Gower in what has become a marginal seat than with what his best for the patients of South Wales. It is also clear from the FOI revelations that she sent a civil servant to appear on TV before Christmas deliberately to misled the public with regard to the reasoning behind the decision. If he was ordered to do this then this raises serious questions about Mrs Hart's position. I look forward to Jonathan Morgan's future performances on this issue. He was frankly excellent on Dragon's Eye in comparison to a very poor performanced from Dai Lloyd who astonishly is a doctor.

Anonymous said...

Sounds a good conference - perhaps you can let us know what the outcomes were. Will it help with change for those of us living with dementia in our families. Ieuan Wyn and co have a great chance to create a Wales priority list that will help we carers. Keep us in ouch on this one Glyn.

Glyn Davies said...

Dai - I've never understood why she's always been so reluctant to face the media. Its the main reason why I've never thought she will put her name forward for the position of First Minister I too thought Jonathon was good on this issue, and took his 'opposition' to a higher level. Having done that I expect him to try to drive home his attack on this issue. Be very good for his reputation to be seen to get the better of Edwina Hart.

Glyn Davies said...

It was a very good Conference. Several good speakers, including Maurice O'Connell, Chair of Alzheimer's Europe, Professor Bob Woods from Bangor, Prof. Debra Morgan from Canada, Ian Thomas, Director Alzeimer's Wales plus lots of people at the sharp end. In Wales we are promised a National Dementia Plan in April. I will do a post on outcomes, but it would take me some time to write it.