Tag: Health

National Assembly pledges to become a dementia-friendly organisation

What is dementia?

The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. It is not a disease in its own right and it is not a natural part of ageing. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse.

Find out more about dementia by visiting the Alzheimer’s Society website or watching their short video ‘What is Dementia?’.

Dementia affects over 750,000 people in the UK and there are 45,000 people living with dementia in Wales.

What does the Assembly becoming a dementia-friendly organisation mean?

A dementia-friendly Assembly is committed to helping to raise awareness and understanding of dementia amongst Assembly Members, and the wider Assembly community.

“By extending its equality of access to people living with dementia, the National Assembly for Wales will be demonstrating that people with dementia are both welcome and able to participate in civic life,” said Sandy Mewies AM, the Assembly Commissioner with responsibility for equalities issues.

The Assembly will:

  • Champion the rights of the 45,000 people living with dementia in Wales, and those who care for them.
  • Ensure Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends information sessions are delivered to public facing staff so they are equipped to respond to external visitors living with dementia.
  • Ensure staff who have caring responsibilities for people living with dementia are directed to support available through the Alzheimer’s Society.
  • Provide Dementia Friends information sessions for Assembly Members, their staff, Assembly Commission staff, and contractors working on the estate so that they are equipped to assist constituents and people they come into contact with who are living with dementia. In fact, to date almost half of Assembly Members have already become Dementia Friends.

Sue Phelps, Director of Alzheimer’s Society in Wales said:

“We are delighted that the National Assembly for Wales has made this commitment. Their pledge supports Alzheimer’s Society’s drive to encourage communities, businesses and other organisations to work towards becoming more dementia-friendly and help to create better environments for people to live well with dementia for as long as possible. We need everyone to act now to make changes to empower people with dementia and help them live well in their communities.”

Two women in front of a stand holding awards

Chair’s blog: Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill

david rees

The Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill’s main aim is to ensure that enough nurses are available to deliver safe nursing care for patients at all times. It was introduced by Kirsty Williams AM in December 2014 and has been considered by the Health and Social Care Committee during the early months of 2015. We reported on the Bill in May 2015:

Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill: Stage 1 Committee Report (PDF, 933KB)

The Assembly will consider this Bill in the @SeneddChamber on 3 June. At the end of the debate on the Bill, all Assembly Members will be asked to decide whether or not it should be allowed to progress to the next stages of scrutiny.

What does the Bill seek to do?

The Bill’s purpose is to require health service bodies to make sure that:

  • there are enough nurses available to give safe care to patients all the time; and
  • the management and planning of the nursing workforce in Wales is good, safe and efficient.

What did we think about the Bill?

Our job as a Committee at Stage 1 is to consider whether legislation is needed to deliver the aims set out by the Member who is responsible for the Bill, or whether there are better ways to do that.

To help us come to a conclusion on this question, we sought as many views as possible. We received 34 written responses and invited 32 individuals, including Kirsty Williams AM and the Minister for Health and Social Services, to provide oral evidence in the Senedd.

After considering the range of evidence we received, including information from doctors, nurses, other health professionals and patients, we concluded that legislation could help improve the delivery of safe nurse staffing levels in Wales. While we unanimously supported the Bill’s aim, we made 19 recommendations we think should be implemented before the legislation is passed. Many of our recommendations focus on our concerns that the Bill could lead to a number of unintended consequences, not least the risk of diverting nursing staff from one hospital setting to another. We are also concerned that current nurse shortages may be a significant barrier to the successful implementation of the Bill’s provisions.

Our recommendations include:

  • making sure that health bodies’ compliance with staffing ratios in “adult inpatient wards in acute hospitals” does not have an adverse effect on nurse staffing levels in other NHS settings in Wales;
  • asking the Minister to ensure there is guidance in place to guard against the possible unintended consequences arising from this legislation;
  • ensuring a balance between the use of permanent and temporary staff when complying with the staffing ratios;
  • giving consideration to including reference to arrangements for comprehensive workforce planning on the face of the Bill, to ensure that sufficient numbers of trained nurses are available across public and independent sectors; and
  • providing clarity about the settings to which the Bill will apply.

You can read our full list of recommendations, and the evidence that underpins the conclusions we have drawn, in our report:

Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill: Stage 1 Committee Report (PDF, 933KB)

Photo of the front cover of "Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill: Stage 1 Committee Report"

What happens next?

If the Assembly agrees the general principles of the Bill on 3 June, the Bill will proceed to Stage 2. Stage 2 will start on 4 June. During this stage, committee members will look at every line of the Bill and propose any amendments they think are needed to improve it. These amendments will be discussed in a committee meeting, currently scheduled for 9 July 2015.

If the Assembly does not agree the general principles of the Bill, the legislation will fall and no further proceedings relating to the Bill will take place.

If you want to learn more about how legislation is considered by the Assembly, you can find information about the process on our legislation webpages.

How to get involved and keep up-to date with the Committee’s work

Chair’s blog: Inquiry into New Psychoactive Substances

DavidReesAM

I’m David Rees (@DavidReesAM), Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee.

In September 2014 the Committee started looking into the issue of new psychoactive substances (“NPS”). We have now finished our inquiry and have written a report (PDF, 1MB) making 14 recommendations to the Welsh Government. A shorter summary (PDF, 252KB) is also available.

What are New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)?

NPS are commonly marketed as safer and legal alternatives to illegal drugs, often made in laboratories and sold via the internet or in so-called “head shops” that exist on the high street. They are often referred to as “legal highs”. This marketing is misleading – their side effects can be as serious as those caused by illegal drugs, and they can be as addictive too. Often, they also contain traces of substances that are against the law to sell and take.

Why did we hold this inquiry?

We decided to look into this issue because the use of NPS has grown in Wales, and elsewhere, in recent years. In 2013, 60 deaths in England and Wales involved NPS, 15 per cent higher than the previous year. Members were concerned about the health and social harms caused by NPS, and wanted to shine a light on the steps that need to be taken to allow people to make more informed decisions about their use of NPS.

How did we gather people’s views for this inquiry?

We used a number of different ways to ask people what they think about NPS, including:

  • asking the public to fill in a survey, which 1072 people responded to from across Wales;
  • inviting representatives from key organisations to speak with Members in official meetings at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay;
  • holding focus groups in Merthyr Tydfil and Wrexham to hear directly from frontline staff, and Committee members visited the LOTS project, Forsythia Youth Club, DrugAid and the headquarters of DAN 24/7, Wales’ national substance misuse helpline.

We wrote a blogpost about these visits and have also have published pictures from Wrexham and Merthyr alongside some short videos so you can see what the Committee has been doing:

Health and Social Care Committee focus group on NPSHealth and Social Care Committee focus group

The Committee also used  storify to keep people updated on the inquiry’s progress.

What did people tell the Committee and what have we done about it?

What the Committee was told

  • More needs to be done to increase public awareness of the harms caused by using NPS;
  • the term “legal highs” is really unhelpful. It suggests that using these substances is a safe and legal thing to do. In reality, they are often really harmful and contain illegal substances;
  • the UK Government, which is responsible for drugs policy, should ban the supply of NPS, making “head shops” and market stalls that sell NPS illegal;
  • those using NPS should not be given a criminal record – that could make things even worse for users who are trying to get their lives back on track;
  • not enough is known about how many people are taking NPS and what harms they can cause.

What we said in our report

  • The current drugs education programme in schools should be reviewed urgently to make it better and more consistent across Wales, and to make sure it is delivered by people who are suitably trained and qualified;
  • a national training programme on NPS should be developed for all staff providing public services (e.g. doctors, nurses, police, social workers, prison officers etc);
  • the Welsh Government’s 2015 public awareness campaign on NPS should include targeted information for young people and emphasise that legal does not mean safe;
  • those working in this field, including the media, should stop using the term “legal highs” as it is very misleading;
  • the Welsh Government should encourage the UK Government to move as quickly as possible to implement the suggested ban on the supply of NPS.

To read all 14 of our recommendations please see our report (PDF, 1MB) or the shorter summary (PDF, 252KB) document.

What did the UK and Welsh Governments think about our report?

The Welsh Government’s response (PDF, 295KB) to our report accepts fully all of our recommendations. The UK Government Home Office (PDF, 69KB) has also written to the Committee to note that it welcomes our work and supports each of our 14 recommendations.

What happens next?

Our report will be debated by all Assembly Members on 13 May in the Siambr, the Assembly’s main debating chamber. This will be an opportunity to draw attention to this important topic, and to put questions to the Welsh Government’s Health Minister about what the Welsh Government will do to deliver our recommendations.

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to share their experiences of NPS and their views about what needs to be done to raise public awareness of their harms. Although the Committee itself can only recommend changes rather than being able to make the changes itself, we will continue to put pressure on the Welsh Government and others to deliver the actions set out in our report.

How to get involved and keep up-to date with our work

#SeneddWrexham blog: It’s been a busy week in Wrexham!

During the last week of March the National Assembly for Wales held its week-long #SeneddWrexham series of events. Here Lowri Lloyd Williams, the North Wales Outreach Manager runs through the week’s events.

National Assembly for Wales bus

Monday 23 March 2015

Launching #SeneddWrexham, we parked the Assembly bus in the town’s Queens Square, where we had a steady stream of visitors during the day.

Mr Pugh was our first visitor, who stopped by on his way to collect milk for his wife, to raise points around transport in the Wrexham area.  He was concerned about the road surfaces as well as the amount of roadworks on the A55 and its effect on the area. Parking charges was also a point Mr Pugh wanted to raise.

Other issues raised on the bus during the day included broadband speed, raising awareness of the Assembly’s work and health related matters, specifically breast cancer services.

Andrew Atkinson and Alex Jones from Wrexham Business Group also came on the bus to raise points about business rates. They left the following video regarding business rates in the town.

We were also visited on the bus by Dr Helen Paterson, Chief Executive of Wrexham Borough Council and John Gallenders, Chief Executive of AVOW (Association of Voluntary Organisations Wrexham) who encouraged their staff to get involved in #SeneddWrexham.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Day two of #SeneddWrexham and the Assembly bus was back in Queens Square, and the people of Wrexham were still making the most of our presence, and coming to see us with plenty of questions, comments and matters to raise.

Health again was a popular topic with waiting times, cross border services and free prescriptions among the matters raised. Members of the public who raised these were encouraged to contact their Assembly Members to discuss further and look at the work the National Assembly for Wales Health and Social Care committee have done recently.

We were delighted to be joined by Welsh Baccalaureate students from St Christopher’s School, Wrexham during the morning.  They were given a short presentation on the National Assembly for Wales and as part of the Votes@16 consultation we had an interesting debate around lowering the voting age to 16. You can find out more about the consultation here.  They also thought that young people should be given more opportunities to learn about politics and that Assembly Members should commit to having young people shadow them.

St. Christophers School

St Christophers School during their visit to the bus.

We were also visited by Lynn Morris and Yvonne McCarroll from Wrexham Tenants Group who wanted to learn about ways that tenants could get involved and have their say on issues that affect them.  As I work for the Outreach team in North Wales this gave me a really good new contact in the Wrexham area that I can contact when working with the Assembly’s Committees on future consultations.

While some of the team were on the Assembly bus, others were at The Wrexham Foyer talking with members of their Breakfast club.   They were interested to hear about who represents them and how they can have their voice heard. They also talked about the voting process and learned about how they can register to vote. Listen to Courtney and Amy talk about it here:

On Tuesday night we visited young people at The Vic in Wrexham to do a session on what the Assembly is, how many Assembly Members they have and what their job is. Other members of the team were with Dynamic Wrexham holding a similar interactive session.

Wednesday 25 March 2015

The Assembly’s presence in the center of town for #SeneddWrexham continued on Wednesday with the team setting up a pop-up stand at Contact Wrexham on Lord Street.  People took the opportunity to speak to Assembly staff as they visited Wrexham council for other matters.

We also had a presence at the Info Shop in Wrexham on Wednesday to get young people to complete the Vote@16? Consultation.  We met with some really interesting young people who have strong opinions about the topic.  We spent some time with Lacey, 22, from Wrexham, who is against lowering the voting age as there is not enough education for young people and so they don’t know who to vote for.    We also visited BAWSO during the morning to hold a session explaining the areas effecting their life that the Assembly is responsible for, who represents them and how they can raise issues with the Assembly.

BAWSO Session

Participants during the BAWSO session.

The sessions continued for the team on Wednesday afternoon with the team visiting Welsh Women’s Aid in Wrexham to hold two sessions on understanding and engaging with the Assembly.  It was really interesting session with plenty of discussion points raised. Here’s what Alison Hamlington had to say following the session:

Thursday 26 March 2015

#SeneddWrexham continued to pick up pace on Thursday with activities and events all over the town.

The Assembly was at Coleg Cambria all day where students streamed in to take part in the votes@16 consultation where we wanted to hear what 11-25 year olds think about lowering the voting age to 16. We had over 300 consultation questionnaires completed during the day.

Our website, ‘Your Assembly- your say, your way, will be updated regularly to let you know how the conversation’s developing.

In addition we had a filming station set up in the library of Coleg Cambria, where media students interviewed their peers about lowering the voting age to 16.  The students did all the filming themselves, and discussed other matters too including whether enough information about politics is given to young people and whether voting should be mandatory.  You can see these videos through the playlist

The students staged a ‘Your Assembly takeover’, where their content took over our website aimed at young people for the day. You can view photographs from the day in our Flickr Album.

Over in Glyndwr University during the afternoon, the Assembly’s Presiding Officer Dame Rosemary Butler AM met with young people from Wrexham to discuss the Assembly’s Vote@16? national conversation. The event was delivered in partnership with Wrexham Senedd yr Ifanc.

We also managed to squeeze in another two understanding and engaging with staff from Wrexham Council and Caia Park Jigsaw group where we were joined by the Assembly’s Deputy Presiding Officer, David Melding AM.

The day ended with a #SeneddWrexham reception hosted by the Presiding Officer Dame Rosemary Butler AM. It was a successful event with around 70 local people present where we celebrated the work of community champions in the Wrexham area.  To the sound of musicians from Coleg Cambria there was plenty of networking between politicians, leaders of civic and community leaders during the evening.

 

Friday 27 March 2015

The final day of #SeneddWrexham arrived and it was another busy day for the team.

Friday started with our education officers over in Rhosnesni High School where over 150 young people took part in the votes@16? consultation. This was followed by a session with the school council.

Deputy Presiding Officer David Melding AM joined in with the school council meeting where they discussed the issues they had tackled within the school during the past 12 months, including school uniform.

Rhosnesi High School

The school council having their say for votes@16.

After spending the morning on our pop-up stand at Glyndwr University, I spent the afternoon with a group from Hafal in Wrexham delivering the final understanding and engaging workshop of the week.  It was an interactive session with plenty of discussion and we were joined by Aled Roberts AM where he spoke about his role as an Assembly Member.

Hafal Group Presentation

The Hafal group following the presentation.

Meanwhile, over in Glyndwr University members of National Assembly for Wales and Cardiff University staff met with students and hyperlocal bloggers and journalists.  The event was part of the Presiding Officer’s Democratic Deficit initiative, to try and help community journalists around Wales to access information about the Assembly more easily.

The Presiding Officer has pledged to work towards addressing the ‘Democratic Deficit’ caused by large numbers of people in Wales consuming news and current affairs from UK broadcasters and media organisations which often ignore the different public policy landscape in Wales compared to England.

Journalists, including many from the Glyndwr journalism school, had the chance to interview the Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM and the Deputy Presiding Officer, David Melding AM. They also attended a press conference style event with Dame Rosemary Butler AM.

We would like to thank everyone who engaged with us during the week for the lovely warm welcome that we had in Wrexham.

It’s was a fantastic week and I know we’ve all had a lot out of the work that we’ve done and hope that you have too.

You can view photographs from the week in our Flickr album .

If you’d like to learn more about the work of the Outreach team in North Wales, then you can contact the Assembly on 0300 200 6565 or contact@assembly.wales.

 

Sharing good practice in scrutiny (3)

Outreach Manager Kevin Davies explains…

Welcome to the third and final blog entry in this series. In my previous blogs I spoke about the challenges of getting a diverse range of people to contribute to committee scrutiny, and then spoke about the different types of things we do at the National Assembly. 

In this entry I’m going to talk about the planning process, which might not be as interesting as the previous blogs, but may be the most important piece in the puzzle. Without proper planning and discussion at an early enough stage, none of what I talked about in the first two blogs would be possible.

Planning and involving the right people at the right time is really important from the get go. A lot of preparation work can be done in advance to give staff internally time to plan, come up with ideas, speak with external experts and contact Assembly Members/Councillors to make sure they are getting the opportunity to shape the type of engagement activity, and in particular which audiences, they want to hear from. At the Assembly we have something called integrated teams (usually made up of a researcher, a committee clerk, legal advisor and communications staff), which basically means that the officials supporting each committee meet every week to discuss current inquiries and work, alongside what’s coming up in the coming weeks and months. It’s not unusual for these integrated teams  to discuss what is on the horizon in the next five to six months. Proper planning means   more flexibility and options at your disposal when it comes to engaging with different groups, organisations and individuals. It’s important that your Communications people are involved at the earliest stage possible to advise and help shape the work, rather that it being an afterthought, or asking them at the end of the process for support on publicising something they haven’t been able to help shape.

Advanced planning will also mean that those groups and organisations you want to help promote the  activity you are planning (be it  an event, survey, the opportunity to be interviewed etc) will have adequate time to do so. It’s important to use the expertise of external groups and organisations when trying to select the appropriate type of engagement method, based on your target audience.

Councils are in a unique position  as they deliver a wide variety of services to different groups of people, covering health, education, transport and the environment to name a few. The people delivering these services are a valuable source of information, and can help you consider  issues and sensitivities relevant to specific groups of people, based on their age, gender, levels of literacy, ethnic backgrounds and so on.

Case Study: Scrutiny of the Cancer Delivery Plan

The National Assembly’s Health and Social Care Committee recently looked at how well the Welsh Government was implementing its Cancer Delivery Plan. The Committee wanted to hear directly from patients, so focus groups were arranged across Wales with patient groups, who were then invited to an event in Cardiff to discuss their experiences with Assembly Members. Key to this were the early meetings that the integrated team had do discuss ideas, seeking advice from MacMillan who helped us arrange the patient sessions at an early  stage. Without appropriate planning and those early discussions this  not have been possible, and the Committee would not have heard directly from patients throughout the process.

This is a video was shot after an event held as part of the Health and Social Care Committee’s inquiry into the implementation of the Welsh Government’s Cancer Delivery Plan:

At the Assembly we have something called integrated teams (usually made up of a researcher, a committee clerk, legal advisor and communications staff), which means that the officials supporting each committee meet every week to discuss current inquiries and work, alongside what’s coming up in the coming weeks and months.

We usually discuss the following questions:

  • Who do you expect to tell you want they think in writing? (written evidence);
  • Who do you think you will be inviting into speak to the committee in official meetings? (oral evidence);
  • Who do you want to hear from that you don’t think will get in touch, and how can we get to them?

The answer to the third question tends to be the groups we target engagement activity towards. This work should not happen independently of Assembly Members/Councillors, they have to be involved in shaping the work you are undertaking. We have found it useful to have some ideas ready to discuss with them after meeting as an integrated team, and having spoken with people in the sector you would like to hear from. The engagement activity needs to resonate with committee members for it to influence the scrutiny process to its fullest effect.

When trying to find the answer to that third point, we aim to give service users the best opportunity possible to take part. In some cases, such as  the inquiry into the  Cancer Delivery Plan  mentioned above, we wanted to hear from service users – the patients – directly.. The term “service user” will differ depending on the issue you are scrutinising. Another one of the National Assembly’s committees, the Finance Committee, looked at the performance of Finance Wales, and wanted to hear directly from businesses who had worked with them, including  those who had had their applications for investment turned down. These are two very different ”service users” and shows how greatly the answer to the third question can change depending on the issue you are looking into.

Here are some pictures and videos form the event held as part of the Finance Committee’s inquiry into Finance Wales:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalassemblyforwales/sets/72157640037729084/

I hope you’ve found this blog series useful, and please get in touch if you want to talk about any of the things in this series in greater detail.

Sharing good practice in scrutiny (1)

Outreach Manager Kevin Davies explains…

On 12 February 2015 staff and councillors from Swansea Council’s Scrutiny Committee came to the Assembly to discuss how we at the National Assembly for Wales encourage more people to get involved in scrutiny.

I’ve just finished writing the first draft of this blog, which I wanted to keep as short and as concise as possible. I’ve failed miserably, so  I’ve decided to publish it as a 3 part series instead. In part one (this one) I’ll set the scene, talk about some of the challenges, and show you what we talked about with the crew from Swansea Council.

Setting the scene

The remit  of the National Assembly’s committees are very similar to those of local council’s scrutiny committees, to:

  •  look at different issues and subjects that the Welsh Government is responsible for, and at the end of the process …  make recommendations to the Welsh Government to put into action.

Here’s footage of one of the Health and Social Care Committee’s meetings for their inquiry looking at how the Welsh Government has implemented its Cancer Delivery Plan:

http://www.senedd.tv/Meeting/Index/e5ceef9b-454b-41f0-b2c8-2838228ec357

This process can be a lengthy one. National Assembly committees scrutinising (looking at, analysing, and suggesting improvements to ideas) laws the Welsh Government has put forward can take a number of months from start to finish.

Scrutiny for the National Assembly means:

  • making sure the Welsh Government is spending money in an effective way;
  • making sure the laws the Welsh Government want to introduce are good ones, and;
  • reviewing the Welsh Government’s policies.

The National Assembly wants to make sure the Welsh Government is doing its job properly, acting like a watchdog. This is exactly what council scrutiny committees do, but rather than looking at things on a Wales-wide basis as our committees do, your local council’s scrutiny committees look at the decisions made, and the money spent by council leaders in your local area.

This is a video of Eluned Parrott AM explaining the work of the National Assembly’s Enterprise and Business Committee:

Challenges

If you’re a council or a National Assembly scrutiny committee, you rely on the information you receive during the consultation period, which can come from individuals, groups and/or organisations, but sometimes we don’t hear from the variety of people we would like to. This could be because the information we put out is technical and people don’t understand the jargon used, because they don’t access information through  the National Assembly or council websites, twitter accounts, Facebook page, newsletters or any other means by which we try to communicate with our audiences. They don’t know that they have  opportunities to take part, or they don’t feel comfortable in taking part by writing to a committee.

Way back in 2013, the Wales Audit Office held their Scrutiny in the Spotlight event at the SWALEC stadium in Cardiff, September 2014 saw the first GovCamp Cymru event, and in November last year Dave McKenna (Swansea Council’s Scrutiny Manager) held a Twitter chat using  #scrusm. Both our  committees and Swansea Council’s Scrutiny Committee face the challenge of encouraging more people to take part in scrutiny activities, so Dave, Dyfrig (Wales Audit Office’ Good Practice Exchange) and I, having taken part in  the sessions mentioned above, decided to arrange a get together to talk about how we can try and tackle the issue.

Dave and I set an agenda which was split into two parts. The first was to discuss public engagement in scrutiny and more specifically:

  • how the National Assembly does it;
  • how the National Assembly plans it; and
  • what effect does it have?

The second part was based around talking about how we use online tools, apps, and other channels to communicate with the public.

Peter Black AM and Mike Hedges AM, both local Swansea Assembly Members, came along during the day to talk about their experiences in taking part in engagement activities for committee inquiries, how it influenced the scrutiny process and the recommendations committees make to Welsh Government ministers.

In the next blog entries I’ll talk in detail about the things we spoke about, and some of the examples cited during the day.

Health and Social Care Committee: inquiry into alcohol and substance misuse

The Health and Social Care Committee has launched an inquiry into alcohol and substance misuse in Wales.

What is the Committee’s inquiry about?

The Committee has recently been doing some work on new psychoactive substances (“NPS”) – better known as “legal highs”. It will be publishing a report in the new year setting out its conclusions and its recommendations to the Welsh Government.

During this inquiry, the Committee has been hearing about the effect that NPS can have on people. Members know that alcohol and substance misuse can also have really serious effects on people, and want to build on their current work on NPS by looking into the issues of alcohol and substance misuse in Wales.

As part of the inquiry, Members want to know about:

  • the effect that alcohol and substance misuse has on people in Wales;
  • how well these issues are currently being tackled; and
  • whether the right local services are in place across Wales to help people and make sure that they know about the possible harms.

The Committee’s Chair, David Rees AM, said: “Alcohol and substance misuse can have devastating effects on individuals, their families and their communities. We want to know what it is that makes people use drugs or alcohol, and whether the right national approach and local services are in place to raise awareness and to give people help when they need it”.

How can you tell us what you think?

To inform the inquiry, the Committee wants to hear from people from across Wales.

Sharing your views with the Committee will help Members to make sure that they can take into account how alcohol and substance misuse affects real people in Wales on a daily basis.

There are three ways that you can contribute to the inquiry:

  • write to or email the Committee with your views on the inquiry terms of reference.

All responses must be received by 9 January 2015.

What happens then?

The Committee will then consider all of the written responses it receives, and arrange formal oral evidence sessions with key organisations and the Deputy Minister for Health.

Once it has taken evidence, the Committee will then write and publish a report which makes recommendations to the Welsh Government.

Where can you find out more information?

If you would like more information about the inquiry:

If you or somebody you know has been affected by alcohol or substance misuse, or if you would like more information, you can contact DAN 24/7 for advice. DAN 24/7 is a free and confidential helpline for anyone in Wales wanting further information or help relating to drugs and or alcohol.
Freephone: 0808 808 2234
or text DAN to: 81066
www.dan247.org.uk