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First Minister claims Tories "insult" foreign doctors

First Minister Carwyn Jones has condemned the UK Health Secretary's plan to reduce the NHS's reliance on foreign doctors. Despite the current shortage, Jeremy Hunt is due to tell the Conservative party conference this afternoon that by training more doctors in Britain, it will be possible to recruit fewer from overseas.

The Tories have said today that foreign doctors and NHS staff are only welcome here whilst they are needed. I say they are welcome – full stop. We are talking about valued members of our communities, and they are valued staff in our NHS. More than that, they’re real people with real families. Talking about them as though they are some sort of commodity is in an insult to them, and the brilliant work they do every day in our NHS.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

In remarks ahead of his speech, Mr Hunt suggested that there would be less need to recruit EU doctors in future. He also questioned the morality of bringing in doctors from developing countries.

Currently a quarter of our doctors come from overseas. They do a fantastic job and we have been clear that we want EU nationals who are already here to be able to stay post-Brexit.

But is it right to import doctors from poorer countries that need them whilst turning away bright home graduates desperate to study medicine?

– UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP


EU health and social care staff make huge contribution say Welsh health ministers

Credit: PA

EU health and social care staff make a huge contribution to the Welsh NHS say health ministers.

Vaughn Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health Wellbeing and Sport and Rebecca Evans, Minister for Social Services and Public Health have emphasised the role they play following the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

Around 6% of doctors in Wales are thought to have been trained in another EU country.

They make a huge contribution to our service and I understand that the referendum result may be causing some inevitable anxiety about what this means for them and their families. I want to reassure any member of staff who may have concerns – be they from the EU or anywhere else in the world – that they are extremely valued and that the NHS will collectively take a zero tolerance approach to any form of intolerance or discrimination that arises in any part of the organisation in the aftermath of this decision.

– Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport

EU staff are absolutely vital to the operation of our social care sector. They are some of the thousands of individuals who provide dedicated, dignified, person-centred care day-in-day-out. They are a key part of the world-class, integrated health and social care system we are developing.

The First Minister has written to the Home Secretary setting out the Welsh Government’s belief that EU citizens living in the UK should retain the right to do so after the UK withdraws from the EU. Now is the time for the Home Secretary to provide reassurance to those EU citizens who contribute so much to Welsh society, that they will not find their rights of residence removed.

– Rebecca Evans, Minister for Social Services and Public Health

Bristol Children's Hospital report: Father of Luke Jenkins fears 'lessons haven't been learnt'

Watch the report from Richard Morgan below:

A father from Cardiff who spent four years trying to get the truth about his seven-year-old son's death says he fears lessons haven't been learnt despite the publication of a report into failings at the Bristol Children's Hospital.

Luke Jenkins had been expected to make a full recovery from heart surgery but died of complications.

The report examined 11 deaths involving children at the hospital.


Liberal Democrats pledge to extend 'More Nurses' Bill

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The Nurse Staffing Levels Bill will become law today, making Wales the first European nation with a legal duty to have sufficient staffing levels on acute hospital wards.

The Bill was proposed by Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, and the Assembly voted in favour of it last month.

Williams has pledged to extend the law to include mental health wards, maternity wards and community nurses in the next Assembly.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats will make Wales a world leader for patient care.

In the forthcoming election, the Welsh Liberal Democrats will show that we have listened to people’s concerns. We all want NHS staff to have the time to care for our loved ones, which is why the Welsh Liberal Democrats will deliver safe staffing levels across the NHS. We’ll put more nurses in our hospitals and in our communities to deliver an NHS that works for you.

– Kirsty Williams, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats

Cancer drug will continue to be available in Wales

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The pancreatic cancer drug Abraxane will continue to be available in Wales despite a decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to not recommend its use in the NHS.

Abraxane was recommended as a treatment option to NHS Wales by the All-Wales Medical Strategy Group (AWMSG) in September 2014, a group whose recommendation is usually superseded by NICE.

Celgene, the manufacturer of Abraxane, is now looking to submit 'real-world' data to NICE and seek a re-appraisal within the next two years.

I’m pleased to confirm the Welsh Government has finalised an access agreement with Celgene to enable continued availability of Abraxane for Welsh patients with pancreatic cancer. This agreement recognises that current treatment options are limited and the prognosis for patients is often poor.

– Professor Mark Drakeford MP, Health and Social Services Minister

'Contingency plan' in Wales for junior doctors strike

Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The Welsh Government says it's asked health boards and NHS trusts to implement contingency plans for any effects the junior doctors' strike in England has on Welsh patients.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford is seeking assurances from the Department of Health in England about the impact on Welsh patients who are cared for by English NHS organisations as it develops its contingency plans.

Wales has a strong tradition of working in partnership with our staff and their representatives.

Junior doctors from any part of the UK interested in working in Wales will find a very warm welcome here.

– Welsh Government Spokesperson

You can read more about the strike here.

New health centre for Blaenau Ffestiniog

A new community health centre for Blaenau Ffestiniog is to be built with £3.9m of funding from the Welsh Government.

Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/PA Images

The primary care resource centre is to be built on the site of Blaenau Memorial Hospital, a listed building funded by donations with special significance to local people.

The new centre will include:

  • Improved GP services with the ability to expand and improve recruitment.
  • Consultant led palliative care outpatients and specialist nurse clinics, consultant led respiratory outpatients clinics.
  • Improved children’s services in a dedicated suite. More child and adolescent mental health services, provide a permanent midwifery base and antenatal clinics.
  • Increased paediatric speech and language sessions, consultant paediatrician and community paediatrician outpatient sessions, school nursing and health visiting services at the same site.
  • Return of learning disability services to Blaenau with a regular consultant psychiatrist clinic. Provide a new base for mental health and substance misuse with increased group sessions.
  • Introduce new telemedicine facilities to improve access to services, through the installation of a technology suite. This will allow a range of virtual outpatient clinics to be established across a number of specialties.
  • Create new community dental accommodation with potential to attract an NHS salaried dentist.

We’re delighted that funding for Canolfan Goffa Ffestiniog has been approved.

We are confident that the state of the art development will improve primary and community services for the residents of the town, delivering a wider range of health, social care and voluntary services in fit for purpose premises. We also expect that the new Centre will become a focal point in the town for health, well-being and lifestyle advice and support.

– Peter Higson, Chairman Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
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