Thursday, December 28, 2006

Life Saving Shocks at Bridgend Railway Station

Vital life saving equipment for heart attack victims in Bridgend has been made available thanks to Welsh Assembly money.

The Assembly’s £140,000 fund for new public access defibrillation machines will help save the life of anyone suffering from a heart attack in busy shopping centres and rail stations across Wales.

Defibrillators deliver controlled electric shocks and the sooner the shock the greater the chance of survival. The Welsh Ambulance Service was given the Assembly money to train staff at Bridgend Railway Station to use the defibrillators and in basic life support.

Heart disease is one of Wales’ and Bridgend’s biggest killers. Around 8,000 people in Wales die each year from coronary heart disease.

Tackling this problem is one of the Labour Assembly Government’s top priorities and the new defibrillators at Bridgend Railway Station can save lives on the spot.

Research shows that when a shock can be given within five minutes of someone collapsing over a quarter of patients survive.

280 people have been trained at 22 sites across Wales and by the end of the programme Wales’ busiest public locations will be prepared to offer life saving equipment.

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Friday, December 15, 2006


Speaking last Friday to the annual general meeting of the Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO), I explained that during the next five years the way that public services are organised and delivered in Wales will dramatically change because of the Welsh Assembly Governments response to the Beecham Report.

Sir Jeremy Beecham’s Report whilst acknowledging that there were examples of good practice being undertaken from within the public sector within Wales, emphasised the need for greater collaboration if service standards were to be raised, and the needs of the users more effectively recognised.

In our response, the Welsh Assembly Government will be establishing Local Service Boards in each local authority area, which will replace the already existing Community Strategy Partnerships. These new LSB’s will be required to plan and deliver services on an integrated basis. No longer will the needs of the citizen falter because of some bureaucratic system.
The provision of services will now have to take into consideration the needs of the citizen, including some of the most vulnerable within society. These radical proposals will require dedication and no small amount of culture change in the ways that organisations work with each other. However, I feel very confident that my constituents will before long, start to see the benefits of receiving a higher degree and a better quality of service provision because of the proposals being taken forward by the Labour administration in the Assembly.

Furthermore, I went on to explain the role that the voluntary sector will play within the LSB’s and in doing so I paid tribute to the work undertaken by BAVO in Bridgend, in particular the Chairperson Mal Reeves, the Director Tejay de Kretser (pictured above)and all the trustees and staff (right).

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Delivery of New Generation Trains for Bridgend

Rail passengers in Bridgend using Arriva Trains’ Manchester to Carmarthen line are to benefit from more modern, spacious trains from Monday (11 December 2006).

Arriva Trains Wales receives £140 million each year from the Welsh Assembly Government and the newly purchased ‘Coradia’ trains on the Manchester to Carmarthen route will boost the number of seats available and give passengers a speedier and more comfortable journey.

The Labour Welsh Assembly Government is committed to providing commuters and passengers in Bridgend with an affordable, practical and environmentally friendly alternative to the car.

The new additions on the Manchester to Carmarthen line are the best of a new generation of trains reaching speeds of up to 100 mph, with improved leg room, air conditioning, on train CCTV and better toilet and baby changing facilities.

I hope that as well encouraging commuters on to the train, more people will be attracted to the service for more of their travel needs.

These new trains show that improving rail services across Wales is a Welsh Labour priority.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Assembly’s Road Safety Money: Saving Lives and Cutting Accidents by 400 a Year

A report has been published proving that Welsh Assembly money for local councils like Bridgend to improve road safety is dramatically reducing serious collisions, deaths and injuries on Bridgend roads.

For the year 2005/6, £323,000 was given to Bridgend County Borough Council by the Labour Welsh Assembly Government to pay for more road safety projects.

A consultant’s report to the Assembly today revealed that across Wales ninety people are year are being saved from death or serious injury and serious traffic collisions are down by 372 incidents each year thanks to the extra cash.

In 2003 this Labour Assembly Government set out a road safety strategy to reduce casualties on our roads by 2010 – to cut adult casualties by 40% and child casualties by 50% - and this independent report today shows that we are well on our way to do this.

Less roads accidents also means our ambulances, hospitals and health services have more money for other needs – today’s report says we’re saving up to £32 million a year in Wales thanks to extra spending on road safety.

The Assembly introduced the Local Road Safety Grants in 2000 – and the £323,000 given to Bridgend County Borough Council has been used to pay for more pedestrian crossings, anti skid surfacing and traffic calming measures.

This money is proving a real benefit for drivers and pedestrians in Bridgend. This money has made it safer for parents and children to walk to school, for older people to get around and is making collisions on Bridgend roads much less likely.

The money is also being used to teach road safety lessons to local pre-school and primary school children.

The report revealed that new 20- mph zones, mini-roundabouts and road visibility improvements are getting the best results in reducing accidents.

This Labour Assembly Government has committed itself to making Bridgend roads safer for all and I am very pleased that this report today shows us that we’re taking the right approach.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Porthcawl Christmas Fayre

On Saturday December 2nd , I had the privilege of opening the annual Porthcawl Town Council Christmas Fayre which was held at Trinity Church Porthcawl.

I was delighted to be asked to perform the official opening ceremony.

I would like to congratulate the organisers and the stall holders for all their hard work and effort. I was particularly impressed by the wide variety of stalls on display, including home made cakes, a second hand bookstall, fair-trade products, jewellery and crafts. There was even Santa to entertain the children.

Friday, December 01, 2006

£30m investment in mental health services in Bridgend

New state of the art mental health services are to be implemented in Bridgend thanks to over £30 million worth of investment by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Proposals put forward by Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust will mean new build centres for integrated day care and continuing care for patients with mental health problems.

It is vital that we continue to replace outdated services and buildings as treatment advances for many conditions. The new investment will revolutionise care and rehabilitation for people with mental illness and their carers in Bridgend.

As many as one in four people will suffer from mental health problems during their lifetimes. Services are a vital lifeline to some of the most vulnerable people in our area and I am pleased that these developments will provide modern day facilties to deal with modern day issues.

Importantly, the £30 million will help develop services in the community as well which will substantially improve the quality of life for those affected by mental illness.

Points to note:

· The Welsh Assembly Government's NHS Capital Investment Board approved Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust's Full Business Case for the improvements of mental health services in Bridgend and the West of the Vale of Glamorgan.

· The Trust will receive £30.369m in capital funding from the Welsh Assembly Government towards the scheme.

· This investment is part of the Welsh Assembly Government £795million, three-year investment in new buildings and equipment in the NHS in Wales that was announced in 2005.

The developments proposed by Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust include:

· Relocating rehabilitation provision for adults and older people with functional illness in new build accommodation within the community.
· Developing a new build Development Centre and re-provide Ty’r Ardd in conjunction with Day Opportunities.
· Re-providing adult continuing care provision and challenging behaviour for older people in improved accommodation on the Glanrhyd Hospital site.
· Relocating continuing care provision for older people with dementia and for older people with functional illness to new build accommodation in South West Bridgend.
· Providing new build accommodation for continuing care provision for older people with dementia from Maesgwyn in purpose built facilities at Glanrhyd Hospital.
· Jointly developing, with Social Services, the Voluntary Sector and Bridgend LHB, Day Services for Older People with Dementia in South West Bridgend.
· Re-providing accommodation for community Mental Health Teams.

Orion job losses

News that the Orion Electrics plant in Margam is to cut its workforce by 50% has been greeted locally with great concern.

The company, which currently employs 180 people manufacturing DVD players and plasma televisions, will cut 98 jobs at the end of the year.

It is a cruel blow to those employees affected and their families. There is never a good time to lose your job but coming as it does in the run up to Christmas makes the news even worse.

In its heyday, the plant brought 550 jobs to the area so to see it being reduced even further is particularly saddening. The announcement will be devastating for a number of my constituents and I fully support the efforts of trade unions, workers and management to try and find a way to mitigate the proposed losses.

I am led to believe that sales forecasts for their products are poor at the moment and that is why they have taken this decision. However the company is optimistic that the situation will improve by the middle of next year. Hopefully they will then be able to increase the workforce again.