5. 90-second Statements

– in the Senedd at 3:37 pm on 18 July 2018.

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Photo of Ann Jones Ann Jones Labour 3:37, 18 July 2018

We move on to item 5, which are the 90-second statements. The first up this afternoon is Andrew R.T. Davies.  

Photo of Andrew RT Davies Andrew RT Davies Conservative 3:38, 18 July 2018

Thank you very much, Deputy Presiding Officer. The British Association of Physicians of Indian OriginBAPIO—is a non-political national voluntary organisation. It was established in 1996 by its founder president, Dr Ramesh Mehta OBE, to support doctors arriving from India to work in our NHS. BAPIO Wales is BAPIO’s largest national division and, under the chairmanship of Keshav Singhal MBE, has proven to be the most active too. 

Since its creation, our national health service has relied on international medical graduates for its success and stability. Indeed, there are estimated to be over 50,000 doctors of Indian origin serving in our NHS across the United Kingdom. These all make a significant impact on the health of the entire population of the United Kingdom, and that is particularly the case here in Wales. At one point during the 1960s and 1970s, almost 70 per cent of GPs in the Welsh Valleys were of Indian origin, and today, nearly a third of all hospital consultants in Wales are of Indian origin.

On Saturday 7 July, I joined members of BAPIO Wales at an event to mark the seventieth anniversary of our NHS and to celebrate the contribution Indian doctors have made. The event was held here at the Senedd, and it was a pleasure to see colleagues from across the Chamber attend. By making this statement today I, and I am sure many other colleagues in this Chamber, acknowledge the huge contribution that doctors from the Indian sub-continent have made to the NHS and will continue to make as the NHS here in Wales goes forward. 

Photo of Suzy Davies Suzy Davies Conservative

Diolch, Dirprwy Lywydd. I'd like to begin by wishing a very happy fifth birthday to the Keep Me Posted campaign. The Keep Me Posted campaign was set up, as I said, five years ago to protect consumers' rights to choose paper bills and statements without charge or penalty. It's not an anti-digital campaign. It's about making sure that everyone is in the best position to control their finances. As energy suppliers, phone companies and others do more online, more of us have been informed that if we wish to continue to receive paper statements or paper bills by post, then we're going to be charged for it.

Whatever businesses think about saving money in administration by getting rid of paper bills, Keep Me Posted has found that people who get a paper bill, instead of one by e-mail, are 30 per cent less likely to contact the business or organisation's call centre with further questions. Just 29 per cent of people who receive a paper bill need a reminder to pay it, compared to 59 per cent of those who receive an electronic bill, so you have to ask: is that really cost-effective?

The right to receive paper bills and statements at no extra cost gives customers a better service and lowers the chances of people falling into debt, and that really matters if you're financially vulnerable or have cognitive difficulties or simply don't have access to the internet—something that was acknowledged by the Minister when I raised this a couple of years ago. It seems, of course, that it saves on hidden back-room costs for businesses and organisations as well. Some Members will have met the Keep Me Posted team at the information drop-in session a couple of weeks ago, but I hope you will all consider signing up to the statement of opinion on this issue if you haven't already done so. It's just landing in your inboxes, I think.

Photo of Mr Simon Thomas Mr Simon Thomas Plaid Cymru

Diolch, Dirprwy Lywydd. The Tenby Museum and Art Gallery, the oldest independent museum in Wales, is also this week celebrating a birthday—its one hundred and fortieth birthday. The museum was established to display rare geological artefacts collected by the Rev Gilbert Smith and purchased by the town for £100—that's £11,000 in today's money. Over the years, the museum has won many national awards and has become one of Tenby's top attractions. There is still a strong emphasis on archeology and geology, but more modern exhibitions include those on the local history of Tenby, maritime history and piracy, and an excellent collection featuring works by, among others, Augustus and Gwen John, John Piper, David Jones, Claudia Williams, Nina Hamnett and Kyffin Williams. Currently, the museum is exhibiting a celebration of the Year of the Sea by Anna Waters and Dawny Tootes. For 139 years, the museum was staffed by a dedicated group of volunteers and only last year appointed its first paid curator. Situated at the heart of the old castle in Tenby, where the only court poem of Dyfed, 'Edmig Dinbych', says,

'Addfwyn y rhoddir i bawb ei ran'—

'Splendid in granting to each their share' in Joseph Clancy's translation—the museum shares the richness of our culture with everyone who visits. Thanks to all those over the years who have supported and maintained the museum and best wishes for the future.

Photo of Jayne Bryant Jayne Bryant Labour

In 1915, Newport workhouse, known locally as Woolaston House, was taken over by the War Office. It became part of the Third Western General Hospital, which today is St Woolos Hospital. Earlier this month, a commemorative plaque was unveiled outside St Woolos by the Gwent branch of the Western Front Association. The plaque was created by the talented Newport designer Danielle Mayer. As we celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the NHS, it's another opportunity to show our gratitude to previous generations of doctors, nurses and hospital staff. 

Special mention must be given to the women who worked in the hospital during the war years. They include the matron Katherine Gilchrist Wilson, members of the Territorial Force Nursing Service and voluntary aid detachments from the Red Cross and St John's. The running of the hospital not only required medical staff, but also general service VADs like storekeepers, cooks and cleaners, all of whom were vital.

Our community comes together in difficult times. Trains of wounded men were met at Newport station by local volunteers, giving them tea, cigarettes and fruit. I'm proud that, 100 years ago, the people of Newport came together to look after each other during one of the darkest periods in our recent history. While we must always remember those who fought and died in the great war, we must also remember those who saved lives.