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Written Assembly Questions tabled on 16 August 2017 for answer on 23 August 2017

R - Signifies the Member has declared an interest.
W - Signifies that the question was tabled in Welsh.

(Self-identifying question no. shown in brackets)

Written Questions must be tabled at least five working days before they are to be answered. In practice, Ministers aim to answer within seven/eight days but are not bound to do so. Answers are published in the language in which they are provided, with a translation into English of responses provided in Welsh.

To ask the First Minister

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the First Minister confirm whether he has met with the new Irish Prime Minister to discuss Brexit and, if so, will he provide the dates and times of any such meetings? (WAQ74084)

Answer received on 22 August 2017

The First Minister (Carwyn Jones): I spoke with the new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, on 10 July and raised my concerns regarding Brexit and the Irish border. My office is also seeking a meeting. I had previously met the former Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, in March. Border issues have also been raised at the British Irish Council since the referendum. I expect that we will return to that subject again at future bilateral meetings and meetings of the British-Irish Council.

 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on any Welsh Government plans to improve access from Sycamore Cross to junction 34 from the Vale of Glamorgan and outline what monies have been allocated/provided if such an access improvement scheme is scheduled to take place?  (WAQ74085)

Answer received on 22 August 2017

he Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure he Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure (Ken Skates): Our National Transport Finance Plan (NTFP) sets out the investment for transport infrastructure and services from 2015 to 2020. Further information can be found on our website at: http://gov.wales/topics/transport/planning-strategies/ntp/?lang=en

We have offered £60,000 of Local Transport Fund support to the Vale of Glamorgan Council in the current financial year, to facilitate a WelTAG Stage One appraisal for the provision of highway improvements from the A48 Sycamore Cross junction to junction 34 of the M4. 

This stage of the study will consider current problems, identify possible solutions and assess which of these should be taken forward for further investigation. It is therefore too early to assume what will be the preferred solution.

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm how many times during the last 8 months he has met his government counter-part for the Republic of Ireland and further provide a list of dates/meetings/conference calls that senior officials from his department have had with officials from the Irish government?  (WAQ74086)

Answer received on 25 August 2017

Ken Skates:  My Department has had meetings or discussions with Irish Government officials in relation to ports, transport, innovation and creative industries. I will be discussing with the Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in September the mutual challenges and opportunities for our two countries, of the UK leaving the EU, reflecting the long history of transport links between Irish and Welsh ports and the wider trading relationship.

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): What discussions has the Cabinet Secretary held regarding Barclays's announcement that it will close its branch in Llanidoles, leaving the town with no bank at all? (WAQ74091)
 
Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): What discussions has the Cabinet Secretary held regarding Barclays's announcement that it will close its branch in Llandysul, leaving the town with no bank at all? (WAQ74092)

Answer received on 17 August 2017

Ken Skates: I raised the issue of bank branch closures when I met with Barclays last September.   At that meeting, I stressed the importance of ensuring proper consultation on the bank's closure programme with the communities affected.  I welcomed the review by Professor Griggs, which made recommendations to improve the way in which banks engage with communities and I will continue to raise the issue of bank closures and the Griggs review with the banks when I meet with them.
 

Neil McEvoy (South Wales Central): What discussions has the Cabinet Secretary had regarding road safety on the main road (B4595) going through Tonteg, Church Village and Llantwit Fardre, Rhondda Cynon Taf? (WAQ74095)

Neil McEvoy (South Wales Central): What discussions has the Cabinet Secretary had regarding road safety on Church Road, Tonteg, Rhondda Cynon Taf? (WAQ74094)
Answer received on 22 August 2017

Ken Skates: I have not had any specific discussions relating to Church Road in Tonteg or the main road B4595. Local Authorities are directly responsible for maintaining the safety of local roads in their area, which would include the roads referred to. I take matters of road safety very seriously and we work with local authorities, the police, fire and rescue services and the third sector to improve road safety in Wales.

Suzy Davies (South Wales West): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm how many applications have been made to Wales Screen Fund to date and, of these applications, how many productions were based in Wales, how many were based in England, how many were based in other parts of the EU, how many were from outside the EU, how many were English language, how many were Welsh language, and how many were LGBT+ productions? (WAQ74098)

Answer received on 22 August 2017

Ken Skates:  Twenty applications have been made to the Wales Screen Fund to date. All productions were based in Wales. Six applications were submitted by Welsh based production companies, thirteen were submitted by English based production companies, none were submitted by production companies from other parts of the EU, and three were submitted from production companies from outside the EU. Eighteen applications were English language and two were Welsh language. None were LGBT+ production.  


 
Suzy Davies (South Wales West): Will the Cabinet Secretary detail how Welsh Government, and any other groups or organisations, have communicated the Wales Screen Fund to the industry to date, whether there is a budget for communicating and engaging with the industry about the Fund and, if so, how much has been spent to date from the total budget? (WAQ74099)

Answer received on 22 August 2017

Ken Skates:  There is no designated budget for communicating and engaging with the industry about the fund. Officials have promoted the Wales Screen Fund to the industry directly as part of the wider package of activity at international industry events (such as British Film Commission Film and TV Week, Mipcom and Miptv) and indigenous events (such as creative industries networking events across Wales, the Producers Forum and Cardiff Animation Nights).   
 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport

 

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): For each health board in Wales, how many complaints were received in 2016-17, and, of these, how many were not dealt with within the 30-working day standard deadline for response? (WAQ74079)

Answer received on 24 August 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-Being and Sport (Vaughan Gething):  From the Health board's 2016-2017 Putting Things Right data returns the number of formal concerns received and how many were not dealt with within 30 working days are set out by health board below. In more complex cases it will not always be possible to resolve the complaint within this timeframe, however organisations should aim to do so as soon as possible and within 6 months, and ensuring that complainants are kept informed of any reasons for delay.

Health BoardNumber of Formal ConcernsNumber not dealt with within 30 working days
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg UHB1249478
Aneurin Bevan UHB992482
Betsi Cadwaladr UHB1191286
Cardiff and Vale UHB1142394
Cwm Taf UHB325242
Hywel Dda UHB638427
Powys THB32484

 

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): How is the Cabinet Secretary working with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to improve the speed of closure of complaints cases? (WAQ74080)

Answer received on 24 August 2017

Vaughan Gething: Support to the health board to improve the rate of closure of complaints is being provided through the NHS Wales Delivery Unit.  In May, responsibility for Putting Things Right moved to the health board’s Executive Director of Nursing & Midwifery who is leading a review of the process.  Data on concerns and complaints is discussed regularly on a monthly basis at the health board’s Quality and Safety Committees.  The health board will be strengthening the team and undertaking further learning and training in responding to concerns and complaints.

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): What assessment has the Cabinet Secretary made of the findings of the joint review of governance Arrangements at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board by Health Inspectorate Wales and the Wales Audit Office that there remains an 'absence of clear plans for the future of acute hospital services'? (WAQ74081)

Answer received on 22 August 2017

Vaughan Gething: The findings of the joint review on governance arrangements at Betsi Cadwaladr UHB recognised it is moving in the right direction, that leadership has been strengthened and special measures is helping to focus action in key areas. While I welcome the positive progress in some areas, I also recognise there are still significant challenges and further work to be done to deliver on the improvements required including a clear plan for clinical services.

As noted in my reply to WAQ74082, key milestones set for Betsi Cadwaladr UHB as part of the Special Measures arrangements, include the development of a clinical services strategy, and subsequently an integrated three year plan. I expect the health board to meet the expectations and milestones set and its progress will be monitored through the formal accountability arrangements in place.

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): How is the Cabinet Secretary working to address the failure of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to develop a three-year integrated medium term plan within the required timeframe? (WAQ74082)

Answer received on 22 August 2017

Vaughan Gething: Key milestones have been set for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board as part of the Special Measures arrangements, which include the development of a clinical services strategy, and subsequently an integrated three year plan. By November 2017, the board is expected to have engaged stakeholders and approved the strategy for health services in north Wales, and to confirm work is on track to submit an integrated medium term plan (IMTP) by March 2018.
In line with all other NHS organisations, the IMTP will go through a rigorous assessment process before advice is provided to me. I cannot pre-empt the outcome of that process. In the meantime, my officials continue to support the organisation to develop its plans and it is critical that the clinical services strategy is finalised as the context for their IMTP.
To steer the process, the NHS Planning Framework will be issued in the Autumn. This will provide clear guidance to the NHS in Wales and will set out the expectations of them in developing their IMTPs.

 

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary please provide a list of new NHS appointments in Wales for chairs of university health boards or other related health bodies, such as Public Health Wales, during the last six months and specify when the appointees will take up their positions? (WAQ74083)

Answer received on 22 August 2017

Vaughan Gething:  As I  announced on 16 June please find below details on the three new chairs appointed in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Public Health Wales NHS Trust and Cwm Taff University Health Board:

Ann Lloyd CBE has been appointed Chair of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.  She replaces David Jenkins and commenced her four year term of office during June 2017.

Jan Williams OBE has been appointed Chair of Public Health Wales NHS Trust.  She replaces Professor Sir Mansel Aylward and will commence her four year term of office on 5 September 2017.

Professor Marcus Longley has been appointed Chair of Cwm Taf University Health Board.  He replaces Dr Chris Jones and will commence his four year term of office on 1 October 2017.

These appointments have been made in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments.  All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for the political activity of appointees (if any declared) to be published.  No political activity has been declared.

Mohammad Asghar (South Wales East): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on the availability of Sirolimus in the NHS in Wales? (WAQ74087)

Answer received on 22 August 2017

Vaughan Gething: Sirolimus is licensed to prevent the rejection of transplanted kidneys.  In 2004, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended sirolimus to treat adults only if they were unable to tolerate certain other medicines.  In 2006, NICE made the same recommendation for treating children and adolescents.

As with all medicines recommended by NICE, it is routinely available in the NHS in Wales where clinically appropriate. 

Mohammad Asghar (South Wales East): What measures are available for parents or guardians to take if a health board in Wales refuses to meet with them to discuss the treatment of their child? (WAQ74088)

Answer received on 24 August 2017

Vaughan Gething: Children have individual rights as recognised in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). A 16 year old gives their own consent to healthcare and is assumed to be competent until there are grounds to consider otherwise.

A child under the age of 16 assessed to be Gillick competent, has the same rights to confidentiality as any other patient, and the clinician’s duty of confidentiality applies whatever the patient’s age.  The standard recommended practice is to discuss with the under 16 year old the advantages of involving the parents but, if the child declines, confidentiality must be maintained or the clinician risks a charge of professional misconduct.

Safeguarding concerns would require appropriate risk assessment to be undertaken, but this would be from a fundamental position that the competent individual is entitled to act autonomously in their healthcare choices.

If the child is under 16 and not Gillick competent, and those with parental responsibility feel they are not receiving an appropriate response from the health board, they should use the Putting Things Right process, with advocacy support from the Community Health Council if required.

Neil McEvoy (South Wales Central): What action has the Cabinet Secretary taken to attract salaried GPs to Tonyrefail, Rhondda Cynon Taf? (WAQ74096)

Answer received on 24 August 2017

Vaughan Gething: The recruitment of GPs is a challenge across the UK, and is not an issue that is unique to Wales. This Government committed to taking action with our partners to attract and train more GPs, nurses and other health professionals across Wales.

A Ministerial Taskforce on the Primary Care Workforce is driving a significant set of activities to deliver on this commitment, many of which are being adopted or led by Cwm Taf University Health Board. This includes the successful national and international marketing campaign ‘Train Work Live’. This year the GP training fill rate has increased to 91%, compared with 75% in 2016.

Cwm Taf University Health Board is aware that Park Lane Surgery in Tonyrefail is trying to recruit an additional GP and that an incentive is being offered to GPs to join the practice.

The health board and partners continue to undertake a range of actions to address the recruitment and retention of GPs across Cwm Taf, including activities to show what an attractive place the valleys are to work.

 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs

Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales):

What discussions has the Cabinet Secretary held regarding reducing plastic waste in the sea from Wales? (WAQ74089)W
 
Answer received on 25 August 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs (Lesley Griffiths): Today, 23 August, I am meeting with stakeholders in Saundersfoot to discuss marine litter and the work of the Marine Litter Task and Finish Group established by the Welsh Marine Advisory and Action Group (WMAAG).  A marine litter action plan for Wales is currently being developed in line with the sustainable development principles of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act. The stakeholder led task and finish group is working in partnership to develop a focused action plan.  These actions will be reported to WMAAG who will review progress as required.
 
Under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) we have a commitment to reduce marine litter, including plastics, as part of the overall goal of Good Environmental Status by 2020.  In Wales action to prevent littering is focused on both enforcement programmes and collaboration across key partner organisations working to change public attitudes and behaviour through community involvement and education.

Welsh Government will also be implementing a ban on the manufacture and sale of cosmetics and personal care products containing plastic microbeads.  There will be a public consultation later this year on how the ban will be implemented and enforced in Wales.  Banning these products will help reduce plastics entering the marine environment.

Following my request to commission research to fully appraise the costs and benefits of interventions to increase waste prevention and recycling and reduce litter under an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) approach, the Welsh Government has now commissioned research into developing an efficient and effective EPR approach for Wales. 

The first phase of this study is to investigate the feasibility and options for developing Producer Responsibility schemes for food and drink related packaging, including 'on the go' food and drink packaging. Importantly, the study must appraise the challenges and benefits within the uniqueness of the Welsh landscape.

The research will deliver a range of outcomes related to resource efficiency and environmental impacts to increase recycling, increase the recyclability of food and drink related packaging, reduce litter, achieve consumer behaviour change and ensure producers bear the full net cost of the management of the waste and litter associated with the product/packaging put onto the market.

Notes
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is an environmental policy approach whereby producers take over the full financial and/or organisational responsibility for collecting or taking back used goods, as well as sorting and treatment for their recycling.


 
Simon Thomas (Mid and West Wales): What plans does the Welsh Government have to make it compulsory to install CCTV cameras in abattoirs across Wales following the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' consultation in England? (WAQ74090)W

Answer received on 31 August 2017

Lesley Griffiths: I will write to you and a copy of the letter will be placed on the internet.

 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

 

Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy): What plans does the Cabinet Secretary have to introduce legislation to ban leasehold contracts on new properties in Wales? (WAQ74078)

Answer received on 24 August 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children (Carl Sargeant):  I am concerned about a number of poor practices around leasehold, including the issue of the selling of new-build houses on a leasehold basis, and I have asked my officials what can be done to address these issues.

I will be giving careful consideration to how the Welsh Government might act to improve matters for leaseholders in Wales, and will make an announcement in due course.

 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Finance Finance and Local Government

Neil McEvoy (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary make a statement on assurances he has received regarding the replacement of European funds for community projects following exit from the European Union? (WAQ74093)

Answer received on 22 August 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance Finance and Local Government (Mark Drakeford): The UK Treasury has agreed to provide a full lifetime guarantee for all European Structural and Investment projects approved before the UK leaves the European Union (EU). However, we still await clarification on the UK Government’s intentions in relation to the replacement of these funds beyond the UK’s exit of the EU.
Our White Paper, Securing Wales’ Future, makes the case that Wales must not be worse off from the UK’s exit from the EU and that our communities and businesses should be provided with certainty and clarity about what will come next.
The UK Government now needs to engage with us in confirming arrangements for replacement funding over the long-term as a matter of priority. Such funds should also be managed in Wales and based on need and at equivalent or greater levels to the EU funds that we currently receive. This is not just a call from the Welsh Government, but represents the views of stakeholders across Wales, including third sector / community organisations.
We have begun a dialogue with partners in Wales about future arrangements for regional funding and we will be progressing the debate on the most appropriate model for Wales during the autumn.  

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