Senedd Sketch: Ambulances used as waiting rooms
Ambulances with their engines running causing air pollution are being used as waiting rooms, the Plaid Cymru spokesperson on climate change, transport and energy, told the Senedd.
This is what South Wales East MS Delyth Jewell told Mark Drakeford during today’s (14 March) First Minister’s Questions in the Senedd.
Ms Jewell wanted to know: “What is the Government doing, please, to limit the time that ambulances are forced to wait in queues outside hospitals?”
Mr Drakeford gave one of his standard answers and Ms Jewell thanked him, dryly, before continuing.
“One constituent of mine’s elderly mother was recently held in an ambulance for 15 hours after she suffered a fall. I am concerned that ambulances are effectively being used as waiting rooms.”
The cries of “hear, hear” from her fellow MSs makes one suspect that some may have broken ranks and were now firmly behind the rising star within Plaid Cymru.
Ambulances waiting with their engines running are impacting on air pollution levels outside our hospitals, Ms Jewell told the Senedd, and in areas where people who are already in desperately poor health.
Now, not only is Ms Jewell very clever – she is a graduate of the University of Oxford with a Masters in Celtic Studies, she is also very beautiful, and looks like she’s straight out of the Mabinogi.
When she speaks, people listen and give her the respect she deserves.
She said: “Last month, I know the Health Minister announced that there would be charging points outside each emergency department … but there isn’t much detail yet about where the funding will come from and when, and also on upgrading ambulances to electric vehicles.”
Ms Jewell wanted details, she said, as always adding a “please” before asking Mr Drakeford if he will explain to the Senedd:
“How the Government will monitor air quality outside hospitals in the meantime, because if ambulances are being used as waiting rooms, we shouldn’t be keeping patients waiting in environments that will make them more unwell?”
Who could possibly argue with her on that one? Not the First Minister.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price was peeved that Welsh Government wasn’t following suit in classifying the HS2 as an “England only project”.
To clarify, HS2 is the costly high speed rail line being built from London to the north west of England.
The Westminster Government is calling it “Britain’s new high-speed …” because we are all paying for it.
Mr Drakeford said it was “common ground across all parties on the floor of the Senedd that HS2 has been wrongly classified by the UK Government … I’ve articulated it many times here.”
It never seems to go well for Mr Price when he starts debating money, funding or indeed tax matters with the First Minister, but he tries.
Back on his feet Mr Price said: “Just on the specifics First Minister” but was anything but specific.
By the time he’d finished, Mr Price had indeed gifted Mr Drakeford by taking us to the Welsh Labour Spring Conference and promises made there by the UK Labour Leader for “the repatriation to Wales of power over structural funds.”
When the Tories get booted out of Westminster.
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Mr Drakeford took his gift with open hands and said: “Llywydd, it was a very welcome announcement indeed that Sir Keir Starmer made at the weekend, that should there be a Labour Government after the next General Election, the funding that had been taken away from Wales, would be restored to Wales.
“So that the decisions on those really important regional economic development will be taken here in this Senedd.
“An incoming UK Labour Government will inevitably have to make difficult spending decisions, given the difficult economic circumstances it will inherit.”
Mr Drakeford assured the Senedd that Welsh Labour will be there, working alongside, “to maximise the drawdown of those funds to Wales.”
Follow the money
Another Senedd Member who probably now wished he hadn’t opened his mouth in FMQs today, was Welsh Tory James Evans MS for Brecon and Radnorshire.
Looking swish in his true-blue suit and tie young Mr Evans also came bearing gifts.
He wanted to know what the Welsh Government is doing to deliver modern sporting facilities in his constituency.
His beloved UK Government, earlier this year, had: “Announced £12.6 million investment in grass-roots facilities in Wales , with individual projects of investment directed by the FAW,” said Mr Evans
But unfortunately, “Mid -Wales has missed out on much-needed cash in Welsh Government funding streams for sporting facilities,” he added.
Mr Drakeford said that he would be in a much better position to help, “If the UK Government had not used the internal market Act powers directly to fund the FAW.
“That is money that should be here in Wales, being decided here in Wales,” the First Minister reminded him.
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