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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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