Guest post by Julie Morgan
Julie Morgan is the Labour Party’s constituency candidate for Cardiff North.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.
In March I attended an event at Velindre Cancer Centre in Whitchurch to hear some very good news – the Welsh Government announced it was supporting the creation of a Maggie’s centre at Velindre with £1.5m funding.
This is something I’ve long campaigned for, as well as being a long-time supporter of Velindre itself. For those diagnosed with cancer and their families Maggie’s provides a ‘kitchen table’ atmosphere and free, practical and emotional support at a very difficult time in their lives.
As chair of the Assembly’s Cross-Party Group on Cancer I held a meeting to help highlight how a Maggie’s for Cardiff will benefit patients across the whole of South East Wales. Patients from Maggie’s in Swansea, which I’ve visited several times, came along and really brought home the benefits of having a Maggie’s.
I’m proud of the £200m investment by the Welsh Labour Government to redevelop Velindre to make it a state-of-the-art cancer treatment centre. And I’m pleased that, while there’s still much more we can do to help people diagnosed with cancer, the April statistics on cancer waiting times show:
- 86.8% of patients (485 out of 559) newly diagnosed with cancer via the Urgent Suspected Cancer route started definitive treatment within the target time of 62 days.
- 98.6% of patients (774 out of 785) who were newly diagnosed with cancer not via the Urgent route started definitive treatment within the target time of 31 days.
- cancer survival is increasing faster in Wales than in the UK. Survival rates after one and five years are growing faster in Wales than in any other UK nation
Another health achievement I’m pleased to have played a part in was the announcement last September of £13.8m funding for life-changing new drugs for those who contracted Hepatitis C from infected blood. I’ve supported Haemophilia Wales – run by a Lisvane resident – in its long campaign for these drugs and it was very moving to meet one of the first people to be helped by the new drugs whose life truly had been changed as he was free of the disease for the first time in 30 years.
Key health achievements in the last five years
Health is such a key issue – all of us need the services of the NHS at some time in our lives – and I believe its importance can’t be overstated. Some of Welsh Labour’s achievements I’m most proud of are:
- £63.8m second phase of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital
- Free prescriptions and free hospital parking
- £85m investment to increase the number of nurse training places
- There is no junior doctors strike in Wales and Wales was the first country in the UK to introduce a living wage for all NHS staff
- Capped domiciliary care charges
- £4m to support elderly and disabled people to live in their own homes
- £7.5m revamp of the Special Care Baby / Neonatal Unit at UHW
- £172 more per person spent on health and social services in Wales than in England
What we promise for the Welsh NHS in the next five years
- We’ll protect the NHS in Wales from a costly and disruptive re-organisation, and protect it from privatisation
- We’ll continue to invest in the NHS and to spend more per person on health and social care than in England, and promise to integrate health and social care
- We’ll continue to ensure healthcare services are available closer to people’s homes – there are plans for more cancer treatment from Velindre at hospitals across SE Wales, for example, so very ill people do not have to travel such great distances
- We’ll continue to respect hardworking and dedicated NHS staff in Wales
- We’ll introduce a New Treatment Fund to give people in Wales fast access to new and innovative treatments for all life-threatening conditions
My personal pledges on health
If re-elected there are many more health issues I will campaign on and I’ll continue to support the redevelopment at Velindre and making Maggie’s a reality in Whitchurch.
My support for fair payments for people with haemophilia is ongoing – and in this, as in all health issues, I will always work flat-out for fairness and for constituents who come to me with health problems. I’ve done throughout my time as your elected representative in Cardiff North and, if you give me the chance, will continue to do so in future.
By Julie Morgan