Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labour's Assembly candidate for Gower, has once more thrown her support behind the annual Rare Disease Day (29th February 2016).
Rebecca Evans, who is currently a regional AM, has long been a champion of rare diseases in the Senedd.
She said: “Rare diseases are not rare. There are over 6,000 known rare diseases, and a rare disease is defined as any condition affecting fewer than 5 in 10,000 people.
“Rare diseases will affect 1 in 17 people at some point in their lives – that’s 175,000 people in Wales."
Rebecca Evans successfully campaigned for the UK's first strategy to help build understanding of rare diseases and boost research to find and deliver more effective treatment, support and therapies. This is accompanied by a Welsh Rare Disease Delivery Plan.
She said: “It was clear to me that people affected by rare diseases sometimes faced common problems, including access to a timely diagnosis, misdiagnosis, lack of access to information, problematic transition from children’s to adult services, poor access to treatment, and lack of research.
"That is why I successfully raised the issue in the Assembly to ensure that a plan was put in place to facilitate research, and to improve access to care, treatment and support for patients affected by rare diseases and their families.
"I was very pleased to campaign alongside Rare Disease UK and people affected by range of rare diseases to make this happen."
Rebecca Evans has served on the Assembly’s Health and Social Care Committee and has Chaired the Cross Party Group on Disability.
Rebecca Evans added: "Rare Disease Day is marked globally, and it is a chance for us to raise the profile of issues affecting people with rare diseases."
Notes to Editors:
Key elements of the strategy include:
•a clear personal care plan for every patient that brings together health and care services, with more support for them and their families
•support for specialised clinical centres to offer the best care and support
•better education and training for health and social care professionals to help ensure earlier diagnosis and access to treatment
•promoting the UK as a world leader in research and development to improve the understanding and treatment of rare diseases.
I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see that the latest Conservative newsletter contains misleading personal attacks on me.
Allow me to put the record straight.
The leaflet claims that I live in mid Wales. I do not. I live less than ten miles from Gower and will move if I win. I spent many years living in Swansea and I know and love the area.
The Tories claim that I am a career politician. The irony will not be lost on Evening Post readers, as this attack comes from a Conservative candidate who recently received an MBE in recognition of his life's work - namely, political services to the Conservative Party.
Yes, I have been a regional Assembly Member since 2011. During that time I have gained a reputation as being a hard-working, effective AM. I have served as a Deputy Minister for a year and a half, and at 39 I am the youngest member of the Welsh Government. I can offer experience and enthusiasm.
Before being elected, I worked for a disability charity, campaigning tirelessly to improve the services and support available for disabled people and their families. I have made a career of working to be a voice for people who struggle to be heard, a voice for a Wales of enterprise and opportunity where everyone can reach their potential.
I intend to fight a clean and honest campaign with integrity - but I will not let unfounded personal attacks go unchallenged.
Prospective Welsh Labour candidate for Gower
Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labour's Prospective Assembly Candidate for Gower, has welcomed the Health Minister to Gorseinon Hospital to see first hand the rehabilitation and physiotherapy services, and visit the Parkinson's Treatment Centre.
The visit came following an announcement from the Welsh Government that the number of nurse training places in Wales will increase by 10% in 2016-17 as part of an £85m investment package in the next generation of healthcare professionals. This follows a 22% increase in nurse training places in 2015-16.
Rebecca Evans, who as a current regional AM has chaired the Assembly's Cross Party Group on Nursing and Midwifery, said: "Welsh Labour is committed to investing in our NHS in Wales - and this includes investing in our wonderful NHS staff, including those providing care and treatment in Gorseinon Hospital.
"This new investment means that we will have the highest level of nurse training places in Wales since devolution. The number of people directly employed by the NHS has increased by a third since the Assembly was established in 1999."
Health Minister Mark Drakeford said: "Rehabilitation and physiotherapy services, such as those offered here in Gorseinon Hospital, can make all the difference to a person's quality of life and independence following an accident, stroke or other event.
"That is why the Welsh Government is ensuring that the number of physiotherapy training places in Wales will also increase."
Rebecca Evans and the Minister also joined nursing staff on a ward round, and talked to patients about the care they were receiving and the plans in place for their discharge from hospital.
Rebecca Evans said: "Gorseinon is a much-loved and valued local hospital. It was good to hear from patients that they are happy with the care that they were receiving. This is a real tribute to the hard working staff."
Mark Drakeford said: "I was impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of all of the team at Gorseinon Hospital, and their determination to ensure that their patients have the best possible outcomes."
Rebecca Evans, current AM for Mid and West Wales and Welsh Labour's Assembly candidate for Gower, has welcomed the latest figures which show that more GP services are opening for longer, making it easier for people to access services.
The latest figures (for 2015), published this week, show that 78 percent of GP practices across Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board are offering appointments after 5pm, five days a week, compared to just 61 percent in 2013. Twelve percent of practices are offering appointments before 8.30am, five days a week.
In addition to this, the percentage of GP surgeries with half day closures across the Health Board area has fallen from seven percent in 2013, to four percent.
Rebecca Evans said: "These figures show that the Labour Welsh Government is delivering on what was a key promise to the people of Wales.
"Longer, more flexible, opening hours are good news for patients as they improve access to vital healthcare services.
"I am pleased to see the progress being made in ensuring that more GP appointments are available after 5pm, and I am glad to see that the number of surgeries closing half-day has fallen significantly.
"I hope this provides strong foundations for even more improvement. We cannot be complacent, and I will continue to push for further improvements to GP opening times so that everyone can access the help that they need from their GP or practice nurse in a quick and convenient way, wherever they live."
Welsh Labour's Gower candidate, Rebecca Evans, has welcomed First Minister Carwyn Jones' promise that income tax rates in Wales will stay the same as those in England under a Labour Welsh Government.
Carwyn Jones said that he would not use the new powers that have been given to the Assembly to increase income taxes if Labour wins the upcoming election.
The Labour First Minster said, "People have a real squeeze on their personal finances and the last thing I want to do is add to that pressure."
Rebecca Evans said, "There have been savage cuts to the Welsh budget from the Conservative UK Government. Despite this, Welsh Labour doesn't believe that ordinary working people should be expected to plug the gap.
"We won't gold plate income tax in Wales. That is Welsh Labour's promise."
Together for Wales, Together for all of Wales
Conference, there are those who would like to pretend that Welsh Labour has nothing to say to our rural communities. I do not accept that. We have a record to be proud of in working for a Wales which is united and connected wherever people live and work.
We know that farming and food is the backbone of rural communities, and we are working more closely than ever with our farming partners to deliver our shared vision of an industry that is modern, professionally managed, resilient and profitable.
Increasing the skills of all those who work in agriculture is crucial to that vision, and this Welsh Government is working to do just that.
And work must pay. Without consulting the Welsh Government, the Tories and Lib Dems in Westminster took the decision to axe the Agricultural Wages Board, taking away a crucial safety net for low wage farm workers. Across the border, thirty percent of farm workers say they have seen their pay fall as a result. Not so here.
We have legislated to retain the Board's functions, and I have used the powers in the Act to award farm workers their first pay increase since 2012. I am pleased to tell you, conference, that that increase, of six percent, comes into force on Friday.
I want to express my thanks to our friends in Unite for their support at every step of the way.
Rural poverty matters to us just as much as urban poverty.
Our Rural Development Programme represents over £900 million of Welsh Government and European investment in Wales over the next seven years. We will use that funding to deliver transformational change, with a strong focus on tackling poverty through the creation of jobs and growth, and developing skills, knowledge and innovation.
Through the RDP we will provide opportunities for investment in small scale community infrastructure, including renewable energy; investment in broadband and digital inclusion; investment in recreational and tourist infrastructure and activities to improve health and quality of life; and improving access to vital services such as childcare, rural transport, and financial advice.
Underpinning all of this will be the sustainable management of our natural resources.
As this highlights, our relationship with the EU is crucial for rural Wales.
We have a lot we can be proud of. Our food and drink industry is the rising star of the Welsh economy, and that is no accident. We are already well on our way to meeting our ambitious target of growing the sector by 30% by 2020 to the value of £7billion because we are a government which listens to and understands the needs of business.
We can also be proud of our record on animal health and welfare.
We work closely with farmers, vets and third sector organisations to identify ways to improve the health and welfare of farm animals at every stage of their lives, including new regulations on welfare at the time of slaughter.
We have legislated to allow action in cases of the fly-grazing of horses.
Our domestic animals benefit from codes of practice, and we have led the way in banning electronic collars for dogs, introducing stricter standards for dog breeders, and introducing compulsory micro-chipping which will come into force this April.
This Government believes there is no place for wild animals in circuses, and I have commissioned an independent review to examine the evidence basis upon which we could take appropriate next steps.
And of course, Welsh Labour continues to oppose fox-hunting - and I welcome the growing evidence that this view is shared by increasing numbers in the countryside as well as in towns.
Labour has shown that it is the party for working people across Wales, wherever they may live. There are no no-go areas for us, and we are making a real and positive difference to life in our rural communities.
Conference, Together for Wales means Together for all of Wales.
Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labour's Assembly candidate for Gower, has welcomed Deputy Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething, to the Forget Me Not Dementia Day Club in Gorseinon.
Forget Me Not Dementia Day Clubs were set up across Swansea in 2010 to help people with dementia and their carers. The clubs offer the chance to meet in a friendly social environment at a local base.
Rebecca Evans is a current regional Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales and has been a sponsor of both the Assembly's Cross Party Group on Dementia, and the Cross Party Group on Older People.
Rebecca Evans said: "It was a real pleasure to spend time with the Gorseinon Forget Me Not group.
"I take my hat off to the volunteers who run the clubs across Swansea. Their dedication and passion for ensuring that people with dementia and their carers have such a supportive and enjoyable club to be part of is wonderful."
Deputy Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething, said: "There was a warm welcome waiting for us at the Forget Me Not club in Gorseinon.
"The Welsh Government is committed to providing support to people in Wales with dementia and their families.
"We are working to help people reduce the risk of developing dementia, and to improve dementia diagnosis rates across Wales - including putting in place extra training and support for primary care and care home staff.
"We are also improving post-diagnostic support by funding new support workers to help people who have received a diagnosis of dementia, and are working to improve care in general hospital settings by making sure that NHS staff have the knowledge and skills they need to provide the best care for patients with dementia."
In 2014, Rebecca Evans became one of Wales' first 'Dementia Friends' when she launched the Welsh Government funded Dementia Friends programme alongside Gavin and Stacey actress Ruth Jones. The programme is a trailblazing initiative that aims to improve people's understanding of dementia and its effects.
Welsh Labour Gower candidate Rebecca Evans and First Minister Carwyn Jones have visited Swn-y-Gan care home in Banc Bach, Penclawdd, to meet residents and members of staff.
The visit came in the same week that Welsh Labour announced its pledges for the Assembly election in May, which included doubling the amount of savings or assets people can keep before paying any care home fees to £50,000.
First Minister and Leader of Welsh Labour, Carwyn Jones, said: "We believe that people in old age who need extra help - those who have played fair and paid in - deserve a fairer deal. People who have worked hard all their lives to buy their own home should be allowed to keep more of the value of that home. That is why we are pledging to double the capital limit."
Rebecca Evans said: "Welsh Labour believes that people should be able to keep more of their hard earned savings to pass on to their children or grandchildren. It's only fair.
"The First Minister and I are very grateful indeed to the residents and staff of Swn-y-Gan care home for the warm welcome we received."
At the moment, the capital limit in England is £23,250. The Conservative UK Government has abandoned its previous promise to reform the system of paying for care.
Welsh Labour's Assembly candidate for Gower, Rebecca Evans, has welcomed new figures which show that the percentage of children persistently absent from schools across Swansea has fallen steadily under the current Labour council administration.
The percentage of children persistently absent from primary schools in Swansea has more than halved since 2011/12, from 3 percent to 1.2 percent; and the percentage of pupils persistently absent from secondary schools has fallen from 7.7 percent to 4.3 percent during the same period.
Absenteeism at both primary and secondary schools in Swansea is lower than the Wales average.
Rebecca Evans said: "School attendance across Wales has reached its highest recorded levels.
"It is particularly encouraging that absenteeism for pupils eligible for free school meals is at its lowest ever recorded level for both primary and secondary school pupils, although we cannot be complacent. I will work with council colleagues to continue to drive down absenteeism by tackling the complex range of issues that lie behind some pupils' absence from school.
"This good news comes hot on the heels of the recent National School Categorisation results which showed that schools across Gower are improving.
"Raised standards of education across the constituency are the result of strong leadership from the Welsh Government, and hard work and dedication of our teachers and staff who strive to ensure that their pupils are supported to achieve their full potential. It is also a tribute to the work of the Labour administration in Swansea which, despite savage cuts from the Westminster Government, is doing all it can to support schools and young people.
"This all follows on from last summer's GCSE results which were the best we have ever seen in Wales. Tribute must also go to our pupils who are working so hard week after week."
Rebecca Evans, Labour's Assembly candidate for Gower, joined Leader of the Council Rob Stewart, Deputy Leader Christine Richards, and the Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Healthy City, Mark Child, in Mumbles to meet traders.
The visit was timely, coming on the day that Welsh Labour revealed that one of its Assembly election pledges is to give a tax cut to every small business in Wales.
Small business owners in Mumbles were keen to discuss the cumulative impact on local businesses of the regeneration of the Tivoli Amusements site and the work being undertaken by Dwr Cymru in the village.
Councillor Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said: "When the regeneration work at the Tivoli site is completed, it will undoubtably be a huge improvement. Likewise, the Dwr Cymru work is needed in order to ensure we protect our quality bathing waters. However, I am acutely aware that small businesses are finding the disruption is proving difficult, and I am determined to explore what support the council can offer Mumbles traders during this time."
Councillor Christine Richards, Deputy Leader of Swansea Council, said: "It is important to remind local shoppers and tourists alike that Mumbles is very much open for business. We must ensure that Mumbles businesses are resilient enough to withstand this period of disruption, and to do that we have to explore together potential solutions to issues such as parking and traffic congestion."
Rebecca Evans said: "The Welsh Labour Government is a pro-business government which understands the unique needs of small businesses, and the huge contribution that small business owners make to our economy. They are important employers, provide access to essential products and services, and regularly come together to foster a sense of community by supporting local events - and Mumbles is an excellent example of this. That is why, if Welsh Labour wins the next Assembly election, we will give a tax cut to every small business in Wales.
"What's good for Mumbles traders is good for Mumbles as a whole. Vibrant independent small businesses are what Mumbles is known for. They are a real draw for tourists, and make mumbles a lively, lovely place to live and work. It is important that we work together to support and promote our Mumbles traders."