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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

First Minister praises "hugely impressive" health centre

* Sir Keir Starmer, left, Ken Skates and Mark Drakeford, far right, speak to practice manager Tessa Orton-Jones outside the health centre during their visit last April.

The “hugely impressive” team at Llangollen Health Centre had their praises sung in the Senedd yesterday by the First Minister.  

Mark Drakeford and local MS Ken Skates also hailed the efforts of all GP surgery and health centre staff in Wales during First Minister’s Questions on Tuesday.  

When primary health services in North Wales were brought up, Clwyd South MS Mr Skates said: “First Minister, during and before the pandemic you were a regular visitor to GP surgeries in Clwyd South, including in Chirk and Llangollen.   

“Would you join me in congratulating all staff at GP surgeries for the incredible work they've done during the pandemic, including, of course, reception staff? Would you also join me in condemning all abusive behaviour towards primary care health staff?”  

The First Minister responded: “I absolutely do that. I thank Ken Skates. It was at his invitation that I went both to Chirk, a little while ago now, but far more recently to the fantastic surgery in Llangollen, a 21st-century surgery with all the facilities that you need to run a modern primary care service.   

“It was hugely impressive hearing directly from the staff there of the way in which they had organised their services during the coronavirus pandemic, the enormous number of vaccinations they were able to do in a single day because of the way that they'd organised the services for that local population, and to hear not just from GPs but, as Ken Skates has said, from the practice manager and others who provide that service.   

“It is a brilliant example, and hugely appreciated by that local population, and I completely agree, as I'm sure Members right across the Chamber do, with what Ken Skates said. None of those people should be subject to abuse for doing the fantastic job that they have done.”  

The First Minister visited Llangollen Health Centre with Mr Skates and UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in April – one of a number of times he’s visited the town this year.  

In 2014 Mr Drakeford, then Health Minister, announced £5m of Welsh Government funding to create a new health centre for the town following a campaign launched by previous Assembly Member Karen Sinclair and taken up by Mr Skates following his election in 2011.  

The former River Lodge building on the banks of the Dee had been bought by the Welsh Labour Government in 2007.  

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