Long term readers of this blog will know that a few years ago a cancerous tumour was cut from my bowel and discarded. I've never really thought about to where. Or cared. Flushed down the loo perhaps. Or incinerated. Or dumped in landfill? The last thing I ever expected was that any part of it would have been returned to a factory in Newtown, Montgomeryshire, and stored alongside 500,000,000 other bits of human tissue. But that is what happened. I was quite taken aback.
A significant part of any parliamentary candidate's preparations for a general election should be to develop relationships with local businesses. So today, I visited a growing and successful business on the Mochdre Estate, named Cellpath. The last time I visited this business was almost 20 years, as Chairman of the Development Board for Rural Wales. It was primarily a manufacturing business then, specialising in medical products. I took home a cervical smear swab to show Mrs D what one looked like. I took home another more modern version today. Cellpath still manufactures them in their millions. But what really impressed me was the scale of storage of human tissue, stored in glass. Until recent years, these tissue samples had been piled up haphazardly in buildings on hospital sites, all around the UK. Today, most hospitals have transferred responsibility for the storage and associated documentation to Cellpath in Newtown. Some of the samples date back to the nineteenth century. Any single one of the half a billion filed tissue samples can be accessed in less than 20 minutes. Most English hospitals are now working with Cellpath, but none in Wales. I do hope its not the Assembly Government's prejudice against the private sector at work again.
Cellpath is a privately owned company, currently employing 55 people. Its a terrific success story, with promise of a great deal more to come in the future. I never fail to be inspired by the creativity and initiative that the private sector is capable of. There's not enough of it in Wales, and its not properly appreciated.