Support our Nation today - please donate here

Cost-of-living crisis: The choice of life or debt

15 Feb 2023 3 minute read
The Senedd siambr during plenary

Members of the Senedd have been told that people who are severely ill are having to choose between going into debt or prioritising their health.

Lesley Griffiths, Trefnydd and Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales took First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) on behalf of Mark Drakeford yesterday (14 February).

Plaid Cymru MS for North Wales, Llyr Gruffydd told the Senedd that people with complex health conditions living at home are under additional pressure due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Mr Gruffydd said he had come across numerous cases, “Including a constituent who needs dialysis at home three times a week, costing £20 a day in terms of energy to run the dialysis machine.

“The hospital provides £40 every three months … she is reliant on a food bank and has particular dietary needs …”

His constituent, continued Mr Gruffydd, was facing a choice of going into debt or foregoing specialist food and energy which was “crucial in keeping her alive.”

In her response Ms Griffiths said: “NHS Wales does help people who have dialysis at home to help pay their bills. The Welsh Renal Network help pay out of pocket expenses …  charities provide financial support … all renal patients are advised to register with their energy provider on priority register.

“So, I don’t know if there’s anything within that information that you can pass on to your constituent that perhaps they haven’t looked into yet?”

It was a firm “No” from Mr Gruffydd.

Very ill children

Children with severe health needs are also impacted by the cost-of-living crisis according to Ynys Môn MS Rhun ap Iorwerth.

The Plaid Cymru MS asked Lesley Griffiths what financial help can the Welsh Government offer in this respect?

Ms Griffiths agreed that people’s health needs, “Have been severely affected by the crisis.”

She added that the government’s Here to Help campaign is supporting people to access the financial support they are entitled to.

Mr ap Iorwerth had recently visited the North Wales hospice Tŷ Gobaith which provides respite, care and end of life care to children and young people.

He said that he had seen for himself the challenges and pressure on families who have very ill children, or children with significant needs.

“The cost-of-living crisis has added hugely to the pressures on them. I’m thinking of the Gleave family near Amlwch, three children—Katie, Kelly and Mason.

“Obviously, the public purse pays for full-time staff to look after them, but the cost of heating for them, the cost of keeping the banks of machines that keep them on life support, is significant.”

Wales wide

Mr ap Iorwerth told the Senedd: “There are families in the same situation in all parts of Wales.”

He asked: “What more can be done to give them the assistance to support their children properly?”

He made the point that if these families were unable to support their sick children at home, they would likely be in hospital, “With the huge costs that that would entail for the public purse.”

Lesley Griffiths said Welsh Government has allocated £90 million for a second fuel support scheme.

“I do hope your constituents have been able to access that … we continue to do all we can to support people.

“There’s a discretionary assistance fund that maybe they would be able to access (if) they haven’t done as yet,” she replied.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.