Showing posts from January, 2016

Trostre has been failed by the Tories, again

This column was published in the  Llanelli Herald  on Friday 22nd January I vividly remember the worry and stress at home when my father was made redundant from the colliery, and so I have some sense what the families of steel workers facing layoffs are going through this weekend. The decision by Tata Steel to dramatically cuts its workforce in south Wales will not only decimate an industry, but will lay waste to communities too. A UK Government who have bent over backwards to help bankers now appears to be indifferent to the fate of heavy industry. The Chancellor, George Osborne, would rather cosy up to the Chinese Government rather than push for action to tackle the sharp practices which has put Welsh jobs on the line. Because the Chinese economy is slowing down they are producing more steel than they need, so they’re selling if off cheaply on the international markets. Last September for example, China exported 11.5 million tonnes of cut-price steel in one month  - th

The truth behind the headline

This column was published in the  Llanelli Herald  on Friday 8th January A lot has been written about how the NHS in Wales is lagging behind England, even though the official studies don't back up the idea. In fact the biggest research report on the performance of the health service in different parts of the UK concluded that each part has its own strengths and weaknesses depending on the priorities set locally. Is some areas the English NHS is out-performing the Welsh Health Service, but in others it is the reverse. One notable example is helping elderly people stay out of hospital. In fact the highly respected King’s Fund health think-tank has said that social care in England is “on the brink of a crisis”. This is because unlike your GP or local hospital, services to help people stay safe and independent at home are mainly arranged by local councils. In England the Tories have slashed Council budgets which has had a huge impact on their ability to provide social ca

Time to bang our drum

This column was published on the Llanelli Star on 13rd January 2016 The funny thing about people in Llanelli is that they don’t like to blow their own trumpet. We don’t like to show-off. As I walked around the new emergency unit at Prince Philip Hospital last week, with Health Minister Mark drakeford, there was definite pride amongst the nurses and the Doctors who had worked hard to come up with a new model of A&E. But it was almost as an aside that they mentioned that this new unit was being talked about as the future model to be copied across the whole of the UK. If we were Americans we’d be shouting from the rooftops that our town was leading the way! When it opens on February 22 nd the new ‘front of house’ facility (which is a bit confusing as it’s actually round the back of the hospital!) will streamline the way patients coming to A&E are treated. Instead of going through a pecking order of Doctors before treatment  - as is traditional in casual