Opening the debate on Mental Health Services, I called on the Welsh Government to apologise to staff, patients and the families of those adversely affected by the failings at Mental Health Unit Units in North Wales following the long-delayed publication of a key report, and to undertake a fundamental review of mental health services with patients, families, professionals and other stakeholders. Referring to the First Minister, I quoted a Professor of Psychiatry who wrote “Some politicians at least acknowledged the receipt of letters from senior staff drawing their attention to these issues. Mr. Drakeford never did … his recent comments on what happened have been jaw-droppingly wrong”.
Responding to the Social Justice Minister’s Statement on The Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) Strategy, I highlighted the importance of pre-custodial perpetrator programmes, called for sustainable funding for VAWDASV specialist services in both normal and exceptional times, raised concerns about the Relationships and Sexuality Education code forming part of the new Curriculum for Wales, and emphasised the need to respond to the rising numbers of male victims of domestic abuse.
Speaking in the Opposition Debate on Food Poverty, I criticised the Labour Welsh Government for failing to address the causes of food poverty and called on Ministers to work with the UK Government to deliver its Plan for Jobs including the kickstart programme in Wales, aiming to create full-time jobs to reduce the risk of poverty.
Questioning the Deputy Minister for Climate Change on rail services, I provided examples of passengers, including myself, who have been left stranded at Stations in the freezing cold in recent weeks because of poor communication from Transport for Wales.
I spoke and answered questions at a ‘Disabled Access to Politics’ Event about my experience as a disabled person in politics and the need for more disabled people to stand in the May 2022 local elections.
Having agreed to be a mentor in the ‘Equal Power Equal Voice’ cross-equalities mentoring programme to increase diverse representation in public and political life in Wales, I attended the programme’s launch.
Other engagements included the Airbus Technology and Innovation Showcase in the Senedd; meetings with Banc Cambria, for an update on their work to develop a Community Bank in Wales, with the Vice Chancellor of Wrexham Glyndŵr University and with the Migraine Trust; a virtual event with the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales; and Wrexham’s Polish Integration Support Centre Christmas Party in Llay Miners Welfare Institute.
If you need my help, email Mark.Isherwood@senedd.wales or call 0300 200 7219.