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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

On the campaign trail

Lots of leafletting in the rain yesterday, a walkabout in Port Talbot Town Centre with Mike German and a tiring three hour hustings session with the BMA in Swansea.

I have always been sceptical when watching Superman films as to how it is that people never identify Clark Kent with his alter ego. It does seem obvious after all. However, yesterday I had a better understanding when I bumped into Barry Kirk in Port Talbot and failed to recognise him as the better known Captain Beany. This is despite the fact that I have been locked in a cage with him in an effort to raise money for the RSPCA. My excuse is that I was distracted by the presence of Amanda Protheroe Thomas and Cyril the Swan.

Barry has just completed the London Marathon and was too knackered to do any campaigning for his own election as the AM for Aberavon yesterday. He produced pictures of his run, in full costume complete with a giant inflatable baked bean can. If you want to help disabled children take part in sport by providing specialist sports wheelchairs, sports grants and year round support then go to the link above and pledge your money.
I attended the BMA meeting last night and was impressed with comments by you---and dare I mention it- the candidate for the conservative party. It was somewhat surprising that the two panel members playing down their expertise in health, came across as being most aware of problems facing the NHS in Wales.

I recognise that some politicians are skilled at evading responses but obviously this can give the impression that they are unaware of the problems, and this must make it very difficult to see how they can then come up with solutions.

In this light I was worried at responses to the question raised regarding future GP training places. This was not, I thought, a difficult question. With significant numbers of extra medical students now being trained in Wales, it makes clear sense to start thinking now about their further training needs, to turn them from medical graduates into the competent GP's and consultants that the NHS desperatelly needs.

This made sense to three of the panel members who indicated that this was an issue that warranted attention. I was, however, disappointed that the labour candidate seemed incapable of giving a clear response to even this straight foreward question. The comments that training places in Wales have only recently become full with no obvious commitment to addressing the problem from a major polititical party is concerning.

Is Wales to wait until it's Job centres are full of unemployed medical graduates before addressing this problem? Or will we have a Welsh Assembly Government capable of developing a strategic plan which produces not only the medical graduates but the fully trained doctors to run the NHS of the future?

Is the future of the NHS in Wales safe in Labours' hands??? Certainly on this issue I remain to be convinced that this is the case.
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