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AMs unite over cross-party statement on Ebola

The Ebola virus has already claimed 4,500 lives Credit: PA

Ebola continues to ravage Africa, with Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea among the worst affected. Today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has given his backing to Oxfam's appeal for action to tackle the virus.

The number of Ebola cases, and suspected Ebola cases, is almost 9,000, claiming more than 4,500 lives. The number of cases is doubling about every 20 days, and the World Health Organisation is now reporting that there may be 10,000 cases a week by early December without major action.

Many Assembly Members have put their names to a cross-party statement on the crisis.

It says the National Assembly for Wales:

  • Notes the United Nations and WHO's appeal that "the international community has a 60 day window to stop the spread of the Ebola virus from reaching catastrophic levels".
  • Recognises Welsh civil-society's longstanding relationship with the people of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
  • Calls on the people of Wales, as well as other nations, to support the work of NGOs such as Oxfam in their effort to deliver humanitarian aid and undertake preventative measures to stop the spread of Ebola in those communities.

First Minister backs call for action on Ebola

Training sessions on how to tackle Ebola have been taking place across the world Credit: PA

The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has given his backing to a charity's call to combat Ebola. Oxfam is calling for continued and sustained pressure to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

I am delighted that the First Minister is able to support this appeal. Oxfam and other NGOs are currently working to prevent a crisis from developing into a tragedy.

The situation in West Africa could be turned around but this requires an extraordinary outlay of resources, effort and political will, in recognition of the huge long-term impacts of this crisis, in West Africa and beyond, if the UN plan is met, and the unimaginable consequences if the epidemic is not contained.

– Kirsty Davies, Oxfam Cymru


Welsh medical experts unite in new bid to tackle cancer

Doctor examines mammogram for signs of breast cancer Credit: PA

Wales' leading medical experts are coming together in a renewed bid to beat cancer.

An agreement has been made between Cardiff University and the Velindre NHS Trust, that sets out the basis for closer collaboration between the two organisations.

One in three people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and one in four will die of the disease.

It's hoped this new agreement will bring us one step closer to overcoming cancer.

This Agreement represents a further commitment to the continuing challenge to find new and effective treatments for cancer.

There are great advantages to aligning our work in a more formal and coordinated way.

World-leading scientists working alongside frontline clinicians have the potential to deliver the maximum benefit for cancer patients.

– Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University

Swansea brothers' bravery recognised after eye cancer battle

Alfie Morris (left), Charlie Morris (right) Credit: Family Photo

Two by MacSmart" style="">brothers from Swansea have received awards in recognition of their courage and bravery, after one of them battled a rare form of cancer. In 2007 Alfie Morris, who was then four months old, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma - a cancer which affects the retina of children.

Over the next two years of his life, Alfie went through intensive treatment to try and combat tumours in both of his eyes. Unfortunately his left eye couldn't be saved.

The boys have been described as 'best buddies' Credit: Family Photo

Now seven years old, Alfie and his nine year old by MacSmart" style="">brother Charlie are being recognised for their outstanding efforts and bravery. Both boys, who attend Burlais Primary School, have been named as champions by the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CECT).

The awards recognise the courage, resilience and patience shown by all children affected throughout their treatment and beyond.

Their mother Rebecca Jones says the boys are best friends as well as brothers.

Alfie has been through a lot in his short life and this award means so much to him. He really is an inspiration to all of us, as is Charlie who has been the perfect brother to Alfie.

They're the best buddies as well as by MacSmart" style="">brothers and Charlie has been there every step of the way for Alfie throughout all the hospital visits, operations, check-ups, at school you name it.

Charlie has been my rock. It hasn't been easy but I'm so proud of the two of them and glad they have been recognised in this way.

– Rebecca Jones, Mother

Report aims to reduce child deaths from meningitis

Encountering meningitis is rare, with a full-time GP in Wales seeing an average of one case every 17 years Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

A new report on meningitis has been published today, aiming to reduce the number of child deaths from the disease.

Published by the Child Death Review Programme for Wales, it identifies key recommendations on early diagnosis and keeping up with vaccinations.

The report describes how meningitis can be difficult to diagnose, with symptoms common to many other illnesses.

Since the introduction of the 5-in-1 vaccine in 1992, cases of the disease have virtually disappeared in Wales.

Early symptoms of meningitis are similar to many other illnesses and so diagnosing the disease can be challenging.

However, there is a lot of guidance available and healthcare professionals - as well as parents and carers - must always be alert to the dangers of the disease.

There is clear evidence that vaccinations have been extremely successful in preventing certain types of meningitis, and so it is also hugely important to ensure the current vaccination programme for children is effectively implemented.

– Dr Ciaran Humphreys, Consultant in Public Health


Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb quizzed by Welsh Affairs Select Committee on NHS row

Welsh Secretary, Stephen Crabb has been questioned this afternoon on the ongoing row between Westminster and the Welsh Government in Cardiff over the health service. The MP for Cardiff South and Penarth ,Stephen Doughty ,asked him if the continuing war of words was was damaging morale?

Morphine addict jailed for 200 ambulance calls

A Valleys woman has been jailed after she made nearly two hundred calls for an ambulance in two years to get free drugs.

Vicky Davies, 43, admiited being addicted to morphine. Credit: Rhondda Cynon Taf Council

Vicky Davies, 43, of Robert Street, Ynysybwl was originally given an ASBO for her “shocking” abuse of the emergency services.

She contacted ambulance, health and hospital services and using “trigger words” to secure an emergency response that gave her access to opiate-based pain relief, including gas and air and morphine.

She would call the services and fake symptoms – or get others to call for her – in order to secure a blue light response, upon which she would demand pain medication in the ambulance and at hospital. Once she had received what she wanted, she simply walked out of hospital without being discharged.

Health workers found nothing medically wrong with Davies and other genuine medical cases were forced to wait and lives were endangered says Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.

But despite an ABSO being served less than 24 hours later she breached it by dialling 999 and continued to do so. Davies will now serve 12 weeks in prison.

Vicky Davies was literally depleting life-saving resources and endangering the lives of others with her behaviour, which is why we all joined forces to not only secure the order in the first place, but continue to pursue her through the courts if she breaches. She is now behind bars for the breaches and the original ASBO remains.

– Paul Mee, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council

UK health minister's wrong -Welsh Lib Dem leader

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams, who's often one of the fiercest critics of Welsh Labour's running of the health service, has condemned the UK Health Secretary's claims about the NHS in Wales.

Jeremy Hunt claimed that Welsh patients seeking treatment in England are causing "huge pressure" on hospitals there. He also said that the Welsh NHS is not prepared to pay for their treatment, a claim described as "nonsense" by the Welsh Government.

Kirsty Williams is AM for Brecon and Radnor, where many people have hospital treatment across the border. She has now written to Jeremy Hunt, stating that he is wrong on three counts.

Firstly, a good number of my constituents receive excellent care at The County Hospital in Hereford, and have done for many years because The County is their nearest District General Hospital. Whilst I know that there are problems in the Health service in Wales, I am alarmed that the current rhetoric might give my constituents the incorrect impression that they are not welcome or able to access treatment in Hereford, thereby putting them at risk of harm. Secondly, in terms of payment, you will well be aware that all treatment received by Powys patients in Hereford is then paid for by Powys Teaching Local Health Board. There should be no inference whatsoever that any of my constituents are receiving or expecting to receive treatment that is not then paid for. Finally, I take issue with you claiming that my constituents being treated in Hereford causes ‘great pressure’ on the system in England. Actually, having Welsh patients treated at The County Hospital helps maintain the services there by contributing significantly to the critical mass of patients needed to sustain a hospital of The County’s size.

– Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams AM
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