MP champions North Wales Growth Deal
Vale of Clwyd MP, Dr James Davies, has questioned Treasury Ministers about progress on a North Wales Growth Deal. This follows talks hosted by the Welsh Secretary last year in St Asaph bringing together partners working with the North Wales Economic Ambition Board to explore a City type bid similar to the Cardiff Capital Region. The Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal is an agreement between the UK government, the Welsh government and the ten leaders of the local Councils and includes a £1.2 billion investment in the Cardiff Capital Region's infrastructure through a 20-year Investment Fund.
Treasury Questions, the Vale of Clwyd MP asked: Is the Chancellor aware that North Wales has one of the lowest productivity rates in the UK at approximately 73% of the UK average, in that context what are the Government’s plans to assist the six North Wales Councils and their partners in the Mersey Dee Alliance and the Cheshire and Warrington LEP to bring forward a Growth Deal for North Wales? In reply The Rt Hon David Gauke MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said that the Government had opened the door to a North Wales Growth deal and that they looked forward to receiving proposals in the months to come.
Dr Davies said, “It is about time North Wales had its fair share of investment and we need to take the lead and work together to ensure this happens. I am delighted that the North Wales Economic Ambition Board is doing the ground work on this bid and that the links to the North West of England are a key part of the initiative helping us to boost our economy and infrastructure. I have chosen to push this issue and that of rail improvements because it is critical we give the people of my constituency and the North Wales region a stable and prosperous future with a modern, vibrant economy”.
North Wales Growth Deal is backed by the region's six council leaders and chief executives and is designed to boost the region’s economy, jobs and productivity and create at least 120,000 jobs by 2035. The Deal aims to boost the value of the local economy from £12.8bn in 2015 to £20bn by 2035 and take advantage of Northern Powerhouse initiatives and investment in England. The UK Government first announced that it was ‘opening the door’ to a growth deal for North Wales during the Budget and that it would be looking to the next Welsh Government to devolve powers down and invest in the region as part of any future deal.
St. Kentigern Has First In Wales
Nurse led hospice units in the country are few and far between but St.Kentigern Hospice is one of these rare places where a very special lady heads the unit and has been paramount in securing the reputation and future of a hospice facility of which St. Asaph and the surrounding area is very proud.
Mum of four and grandmother of two, Dinah Hickish (55) who lives in Tremeirchion, is the Senior Advanced Nurse Practitioner at the Hospice with qualifications which allow her to admit patients, clinically assess them, initiate a programme of care, prescribe treatments and discharge them.
In 2014 Dinah was recognised for her work in palliative care by being awarded the gold standard - Excellence in Palliative and End of Life Care - Award at the Wales Care Awards ceremony in Cardiff.
Dinah is the very first consultant nurse in palliative care in Wales but her career has not been a smooth rise to the top.
From a strongly medical family, Dinah originally trained as a nurse at Westminster Hospital London but it was a talk by Dame Cecily Saunders on the subject of Morphine which really inspired her desire to work in palliative care.
“After hearing the talk I realised that this was my vocation but things were put on hold when I became pregnant. My psychiatrist husband, four children and a smallholding later, my ambitions were rekindled and I decided to rejoin my path of caring for the dying by retraining and obtaining a 1st Class honours degree at Bangor University.”
Her job application to St. Kentigern Hospice didn’t provide an easy access into her preferred field of medicine when she was informed that St.Kentigerns did not accept newly qualified nurses but a successful interview secured her the job. She then achieved her Palliative Care Diploma Module in 2006 and then, in 2007 went on and embarked on an MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice and in 2009 she became the First Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Wales in palliative care and one of very few in the UK.
Even then, despite her total focus on palliative care and at a time when St. Kentigern Hospice was experiencing a severe financial crisis, fate dealt yet another blow when Dinah was diagnosed with breast cancer.
True to form she dealt with this crisis, spent some time with family in the south of England where her brother is an Oncologist, underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy and returned to work eight months later. During this time she also completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Palliative Medicine/Care, Cardiff, achieving a Merit Award.
Having received her one year clear diagnosis Dinah now sees the experience as a really positive one which allows her an even deeper understanding and empathy with her patients.
There is no doubt that St. Kentigern Hospice, having made an exceptional recovery from its earlier financial problems under the expert Chairmanship of Trefor Jones, CBE., has an assured future with Dinah at the helm of the first class nursing team.