Clause 3 — Functions of the Centre

Part of Health (Wales) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 9th January 2003.

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Photo of Roger Williams Roger Williams Liberal Democrat, Brecon and Radnorshire 3:31 pm, 9th January 2003

We welcome the Bill as well. During an earlier discussion of the Bill, my hon. Friend Lembit Opik spoke about the stress he suffered as a result of the Conservatives' delay in announcing whether they would support the Bill. I am pleased to say that he has recovered and is now doing his bit in Committee.

I congratulate everyone who has contributed to the progress of the Bill, particularly Mr. Jones on his work with the Select Committee. The good relationship that has developed between the Assembly and Welsh Members will stand the legislative system in Wales in good stead, and will give us a huge advantage when we come to consider other Bills. We all recognise the problems that Wales faces, and the Bill represents a step forward in improving the NHS there. To a large extent, the poor state of the health of the Welsh nation is an historic problem. Any audit would point out that many people suffer health problems such as pneumoconiosis and silicosis as a result of their employment in the mining and slate industries. In the farming industry, people suffer from farmer's lung, an illness that attacks the lungs.

Those chronic illnesses are not cured easily, if at all, but we should ensure that people's quality of life is improved so that they can have a longer and more enjoyable life. People whose jobs involve heavy lifting can suffer from orthopaedic conditions. As I walk around farmers' markets in my area, I see many farmers hobbling away, waiting for their hip replacement, an operation that can provide many with comfort and relief.