As yet, there has been no response from Welsh Government to my request for an independent inquiry into the delays faced by patients needing emergency care. The list of complaints I am receiving on an almost daily basis continues to grow. When The Grange University Hospital was first proposed, we were assured that a small increase in journey times to Llanfrechfa would be compensated for by the better treatment on offer at the new flagship £350m specialist and critical care ‘centre of excellence’. Heart attack and stroke victims have instead faced long waits for ambulances, then further waits at the hospital before being treated. An inquiry should ask some basic questions: Why have so many patients with serious conditions faced such long waits for ambulances in Monmouthshire? Why have there been delays in being seen once patients have arrived at The Grange? What practical steps could be taken to improve the service? For example, should ambulances be positioned in different parts of Gwent? Would it be worth re-opening minor injury clinics to reduce pressure on The Grange? Should Aneurin Bevan University Health Board pay for elective surgery cases to be carried out privately - as neighbouring health boards have done - to reduce numbers in hospital? There may well be many other suggestions. Nobody blames hard working paramedics or NHS staff. But nobody should pretend the current situation is acceptable when it is clearly not.
Congratulations to BAE Systems Munitions for scooping the runners-up spot in a prestigious parliamentary awards scheme. The company’s Glascoed site near Usk was honoured for its responsible business practices during a reception at the House of Commons. I nominated BAE Systems for the accolade from the All-Party Parliamentary Corporate Responsibility Group in recognition of its success in supporting apprenticeships, promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, reducing the firm’s environmental impact, and its commitment to ethical business. BAE Systems is an outstanding company and big local employer, offering highly skilled and well-paid careers in mechanical engineering, energetics and materials science. I have always been very impressed with the way apprentices and graduates are recruited. The company does a fantastic job of nurturing and developing the next generation of employees who will lead the business in years to come. I was delighted to put forward BAE Systems Munitions as the 2022 Responsible Business Champion for the Monmouth constituency and look forward to visiting the site at Glascoed later this summer.
*Published in the Monmouthshire Beacon on 27 July 2022 and the Abergavenny Chronicle on 28 July 2022*