Wales has just marked ten years of free prescriptions, saving money for people with long term conditions. The annual increase in prescription charges in England shows that this is nothing more than a tax on illness which is completely unfair. Despite this, the Welsh Conservatives regularly call for this “tablet tax” to be re-introduced. We know, however, that it would be costly to administer. Research carried out in England by Rethink Mental Illness shows that many people with severe mental illnesses have had to choose between paying household bills and paying prescription charges. I’m pleased that our Welsh Labour Government doesn’t put residents in the position of having to choose between paying for medicines and paying for food.
It’s also 10 years since the Welsh Government introduced the flagship smoking ban. It’s been a great public health success with the percentage of adults smoking now at a record low, and actually beating the Welsh Labour Government’s target.
The good health news doesn’t stop there. Amongst five year olds in Wales, tooth decay is crumbling, thanks to the Welsh Government’s Designed to Smile programme which has encouraged nearly 95,000 children to regularly brush their teeth. The oral health programme will now target under-fives, with the aim of achieving as many children as possible to be decay free by five years old.
Sporting stars and public health experts have helped launch The Daily Mile in Wales, an easy, fun way to improve children’s health and wellbeing with primary-aged children running, walking or jogging for 15 minutes every day in school. It’s inclusive, simple and free, with no equipment or set up required. Why not give it a go yourself?
The Welsh Government is investing significant money in transport schemes to improve safety, create economic growth and promote active travel across the region. This is just the sort of thing people in communities across Mid Wales have been telling me they need during my discussions with them about a plan specifically for rural Wales. Over £460,000 will go to Powys projects, including motorcycling, cycling and driving safety courses, as well as traffic safety measures at John Beddoes campus, Newtown High School, and Presteigne Primary School.
I know services for families with autism also matters to many in my constituency. Families need to trust that services will be available for them and that’s why I welcomed the introduction of the 26 week waiting target as well as the extra £7 million available for the National Integrated Autism Service. The Welsh Government will be monitoring waiting times to ensure families get the services they need as promptly as possible. I want to hear from you about your experiences. I hope you’ll get in touch with my regional office on 01437 765588 or find me at www.facebook/ElunedMorganAM