Your MP Writes for the Abergavenny Chronicle and Monmouthshire Beacon

Since March, the focus of the NHS has been to deal with Covid-19 and it has performed admirably. However, we must not take our eye off other health issues. On a family walk in the Brecon Beacons over the bank holiday weekend, we came across someone who had fallen. They were injured and unable to move. Luckily it was on a road and their partner had called an ambulance. Unfortunately, two and a half hours later no ambulance had arrived. I telephoned myself. The ambulance service tried to be helpful but couldn’t say when an ambulance would arrive. For reasons that I don’t have the space to write here, the information was unavailable.

I have no doubt this was not the fault of ambulance staff; having been out on a shift with paramedics, I can vouch for the incredible work they do. But something is wrong. Either we need more ambulances and crews, or people are phoning ambulances when they don’t really need them, or they are not being turned around quickly enough at A&E. Two and a half hours is an unacceptable time for someone to wait when they are in pain and unable to move. The transfer of A&E facilities from Abergavenny to the new Grange University Hospital in Llanfrechfa means patients in the north of the county will have further to travel, so it is even more important that delays in providing an ambulance are reduced or ended.

Walking is a brilliant way to exercise and we are lucky to have fantastic routes and trails on our doorstep. But what a relief to be able to go back to the gym! It is not perfect; you have to book slots - although the free online MonLife app works well – and you have to arrive and leave in your kit, bringing in nothing else. While things are not quite back to normal, it is a huge step forward and feels great to be able to relieve some stress with the weights. Well done Monmouthshire County Council!

The BBC is supposed to represent all sections of society and all interests. But it doesn’t seem to care much about those of us who like to hear traditional British favourites being sung at Last Night of the Proms. Apparently, the Beeb thinks Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory are racist. As long as the law states I must pay for a TV licence then I will keep paying because I do not believe in breaking the law - and my mobile phone has got a brand-new ringtone!

*Published in the Monmouthshire Beacon on 2 September 2020 and the Abergavenny Chronicle on 3 September 2020*