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Mr Less Angry

Betsan Powys | 15:50 UK time, Thursday, 29 October 2009

I promised you I'd update you on today's meeting between the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and health officials from the Assembly Government.

I've just spoken again to the campaign's Policy director Robert Meadowcroft (the man I described as Mr. Angry yesterday. He didn't object to that description by the way.)

He said the meeting saw a partial victory - officials promised that the sleep study service, so needed by patients like young Jack Thomas, would be reinstated within weeks.

After that there was mixed news. Encouraging signs - according to Mr. Meadowcroft - when it comes to the appointment of two advisers and encouraging signs on a network for Wales. Encouraging signs, but no more.

The campaign says it will continue to put pressure on the Assembly Government in those areas to try to reverse the decline in services for muscular dystrophy patients that I reported in yesterday's post.

So Mr Angry is cooling off - for the moment.

Interestingly he told me he was met not by the Health Minister Edwina Hart but by eight officials and Baroness Ilora Finlay acting as a ministerial adviser to the Assembly Government.

I didn't know that Baroness Finlay (a cross-bench peer, an expert in palliative care) occupied a formal role. It makes a lot of sense: I'm pretty sure her extensive experience of life on the NHS front-line would be invaluable to those who run the Welsh NHS. So I'll try to find out how formal a role it is and let you know.

UPDATE: I've just come off the phone to Baroness Finlay. Alas she's not taken up some kind of Gordon Brown's GOAT-style role in the Assembly Government. She tells me that she's often called in to such meetings because of her area of expertise - end-of-life care - as well as what she calls her "bird's eye view" of the Welsh NHS and involvement in parliamentary committees.

She did say that one development that is, in her view, more than encouraging is the creation of a transitional care palliative consultant to look after the needs of terminally ill youngsters who fall between the two worlds of paediatric and adult services.


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  • 1. At 08:39am on 30 Oct 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    WAG's answer to everything employ more 'advisors'.How about spending the money on providing the care.

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  • 2. At 10:06am on 30 Oct 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:

    I am very pleased that Robert Meadowcroft has achieved a partial victory and hope that he keeps up the pressure to put words into action. From experience I have discovered that AMs say one thing to you and then go away and find some reason to change their minds, retract what they said, or you simply get ignored.

    We should also thank Arian for posting this issue on this Blog, for sadly it is not all these assembly committees, AMs, MPs, or officials that bring about a change in the provision of essential services. It is openness and transparency, and bringing these issues to the attention of the public on Blogs like this that gets the results.

    On the issue of transparency, despite my general criticisms of AMs, Huw Lewis did force the publication of a consultants report into the scheme to dual the A465 Heads of the Valleys road, and he should be commended for doing so.

    This does however, reinforce my concerns about both the WAG and assembly hiding behind limited powers and tools to keep their failings out of the media by any means possible.

    If Huw Lewis becomes leader, would he please do the same with regard to the report by consultants Haines Watts into the finances of the University of Wales Lampeter, and ask why nobody has been held to account for the failure of this public spending body.

    We also need a policy on whistle blowers on the failure of public services that actually works.

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  • 3. At 11:36am on 30 Oct 2009, BLUESNIK wrote:

    Betsan - Why has this imposter stolen your super blog? "Adrian Masters' insider's view on politics" (BBC Wales Home-page Link). Are you running for EU president (Wales "I'm certainly not Tony" candidate)? Shopping at Tescos? Advising Edwina on medya presentation in the "era of deep regime change"? Lunching with the delightful Kinnocks?

    WE damand to know. Soon.

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  • 4. At 1:08pm on 30 Oct 2009, Pads wrote:

    thegnatswatter - erm, isn't that one of the things the Muscular Dystrophy Society was asking for?

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  • 5. At 1:20pm on 30 Oct 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Indeed, seems they got what they wanted. All credit to all those involved.

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  • 6. At 3:00pm on 30 Oct 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    4. There are hundreds of society's asking for more and more resources out
    of an ever decreasing pot. Surely the cost of two 'advisors'(£40-50,000pa)will mean cuts elsewhere on the services to other patients who also may have 'Mr Angry's'.Edwina Hart has recognised and acted by reinstating the service and I commend that but where is the need for advice surely Edwina is already overburdened with professional advice from her well paid departmental staff.

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  • 7. At 3:54pm on 30 Oct 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    The advisers were what they were asking for as well... perhaps you should address your questions elsewhere - maybe to the originators.

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