Support for Long Covid patients in Wales, another bank closure and flooding - weekly update 23/01/21
A new Covid recovery app was launched this week in Wales for people recovering from Covid or living with the effects of Long Covid. The app has been designed to offer people a bespoke tool to monitor symptoms and track the progress of your recovery. It includes advice from consultants, therapists, psychologists, dieticians and other experts in how best to support yourself with your symptoms. GPs are still incredibly important in signposting help and providing the necessary medical tests and advice, but this app is a great resource in monitoring any changes in symptoms that indicate you need to seek medical advice. To download the app, search ‘Covid Recovery’ in the App Store or Google Play.
This week we received the disappointing news that yet another bank in the constituency will be closing, as news came in that HSBC will be closing their Gorseinon branch in the summer. I’m annoyed that customers found this out through the media rather than through correspondence from the bank. Local banking services provide vital support to customers, particularly in rural areas, and particularly during times of financial difficulties. Discussions around access to cash and difficulties for people who depend on cash for their financial transactions stalled with the onset of the pandemic, although it has been reported recently that people who rely on cash have found some shops refusing cash transactions as a result of the pandemic. Many people find tight budgets require cash transactions and many older and vulnerable people cannot manage online banking and card transactions. The Covid pandemic has highlighted the inequalities that exist in our society in all areas; we need to ensure that those who depend upon cash are not shut out from participating in society as well. Local MS Rebecca Evans and I are arranging to meet with HSBC to voice our and our constituents’ concerns and to find out what is being done to support those who are affected by this decision. Customers can use the Post Office for everyday banking, such as withdrawing or depositing cash.
I was pleased to speak during the English Health Secretary’s statement on the rollout of the Covid vaccine. I wanted to know whether those with terminal cancer diagnoses would be within the vulnerable category that will see those with underlying health conditions given priority access to the vaccine. A terminal cancer diagnosis does not mean imminent death, but it does mean vulnerability to other conditions and it means that we need to provide all the care we can to ensure that they are able to live good quality and happy lives despite their diagnosis. The English Health Secretary’s answer was disappointing and essentially a ‘no’ - but I’ll keep campaigning on this.
I’ve been contacted by several constituents regarding the Equitable Life scandal, in which a report found UK Government maladministration played a role. The UK Government have made £1.5 billion available to compensate policyholders who lost money but does not match the £4.1 billion that has been found customers would have received had they invested with another company. A scandal like Equitable Life should never be allowed to happen again and yet just last month the UK Government had to establish a new compensation scheme for yet another investment scheme for customers, many of whom had lost their life savings. When will the UK Government start ensuring regulatory frameworks properly protect ordinary people who put their trust in financial schemes?
As if we currently did not have enough to deal with, Storm Christoph arrived this week, bringing flooding and upset.
I want to offer my congratulations to Langland Bay Lifeguard Club, who have been awarded funding from The National Lottery Community Fund Wales. The National Lottery Community Fund awards grants to vital community resources that work to support the local community. For Langland Bay Lifeguard Club, this grant will be used to equip their volunteers to provide lifeguard patrols at Llangennith beach. This equipment will include PPE, rescue and first aid materials, and communication kits. Thank you to all the volunteers to keep beachgoers safe and give up their time to protect others and I hope this funding will support all your efforts once it is Covid-safe to return to the beach!
You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page. If you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01792 899025. My office is not open, my staff and I are working from home, but my email and phone are still being monitored and responded to. You may experience a slight delay in receiving a response from us as the demand has increased, but we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Keep well and remember – and remember - observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe!