Tag Archives: politics

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Welsh and Scottish First Ministers to meet

First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon will meet today in Edinburgh to discuss how the 2 governments can work together to protect devolution from a “Westminster power grab”.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said:  

“Our position is clear and unequivocal – the Withdrawal Bill flies in the face of devolution and we cannot accept it in its current form. It is quite simply a blatant power grab from Whitehall which is not in the interest of people in Wales and the other devolved administrations.

“We have been equally clear that we are prepared to come to the table, to work constructively with the UK government to try and reach agreement on future arrangements. Based on their behaviour over the last few months, we have seen no real desire to take up this invitation and unless we see a completely different approach we will not be recommending the Assembly gives its consent to this bill.

“I am looking forward to discussing with Nicola Sturgeon our shared concerns regarding the bill and wider Brexit issues which affects both our countries. By speaking with one voice, we will make it clear that the UK government cannot simply impose its will on the other constituent parts of the UK.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Both during and after the EU referendum, new powers were promised to Holyrood but instead the UK government is planning to impose new restrictions on the Scottish Parliament.   

“The UK government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill returns powers, even in devolved policy areas, solely to Westminster. Both the Scottish and the Welsh Governments have been clear that this power grab cannot be allowed to take place.

“I am looking forward to discussing with Carwyn Jones how we can work together to change the bill so that devolution and the interests of the people of Scotland and Wales can be protected. As it stands it is inconceivable that we would recommend that the Scottish Parliament gives its consent to the legislation.

“We have said repeatedly that we are willing to talk constructively with the UK government on future arrangements. But this has to be on the basis of agreement and partnership not imposition.

“The Scottish Government is doing all we can to prevent an extreme Brexit, keep the UK in the Single Market and protect devolution.”

Safer Down’s test for pregnant women to be introduced in Wales

Public Health Minister Rebecca Evans has confirmed the Welsh Government has agreed to the introduction of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) within the antenatal screening programme in Wales. 

NIPT, a blood sample analysed in a laboratory, will be added to the screening pathway as an additional option for women who accept current primary screening and are assessed as being at higher chance of Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndrome.

The current antenatal screening programme offers pregnant women a number of different primary screening tests to detect some of the conditions that may affect either the woman or their baby. One of these screening tests shows the chance of having a baby with Down’s syndrome. If this is equal to or higher than 1 in 150, women are considered higher chance but are currently only offered the option of an invasive test to confirm the diagnosis. These invasive diagnostic tests carry a small risk of miscarriage. 

NIPT will be offered as an additional option to these invasive tests and for women who receive a negative result, no further tests will be required. It is expected that 1 to 2 babies per year in Wales will be saved from miscarriage as a result of the introduction of NIPT.

NIPT will be rolled out as soon as practicable during 2018. Work is already underway with the other UK nations and charities on the development of health professional training and patient information, designed to ensure women are supported to make a fully informed decision. 

Public Health Minister, Rebecca Evans said:

“We want to ensure every expectant mother in Wales receives the information, advice and support they need throughout their pregnancy. Our antenatal screening programme plays an important role in this.

“The Welsh Government has accepted the recommendations made by the UK National Screening Committee and the Wales Screening Committee to introduce Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) as an additional option for women identified as higher chance for Down’s, and to add screening for Edwards’ and Patau’s syndrome and screening in twin pregnancies within the screening pathway in Wales.

“NIPT is more accurate than the current primary tests. A negative NIPT result will offer pregnant women the reassurance they need, without the need for a further invasive diagnostic test – reducing the unnecessary harm from miscarriage that can be caused through the use of these tests.”

The introduction of NIPT will be evaluated over the next 3 years, in line with recommendations made by the UK National Screening Committee and the Wales Screening Committee. 

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Statement from the First Minister of Wales on the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils

First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said:

“Our thoughts today are with all of those who were affected by yesterday’s terrorist attacks on Barcelona and Cambrils. It is truly horrifying to think that people who were simply going about their daily lives, relaxing and enjoying themselves could be targeted in such an evil way.

 

“Barcelona is a proud and beautiful city which welcomes international visitors with open arms, including many from Wales, and of course we also enjoy an air link with the city through Cardiff Airport. I would urge anyone visiting the area at the moment to keep following the advice of the local authorities and to check the Foreign Office twitter feed and website for further updates.

 

“Wales and Catalunya of course also share many historical and cultural ties and I want to end by expressing my deepest sympathies on behalf of the people of Wales. We stand by your side at this difficult time.”  

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