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Welsh Government

Former health board chief named as new top civil servant for Wales

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The new Permanent Secretary of the Welsh Government will be Dr Andrew Goodall CBE, it has been announced.

Dr Goodall will succeed Dame Shan Morgan as the most senior civil servant in the Welsh Government, responsible for around 5,000 staff, as well as the principal policy adviser to the First Minister.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I’m delighted that Andrew Goodall will be taking up the role of Permanent Secretary as we build a stronger, fairer and greener Wales together beyond the pandemic.

“He has been a leading figure in Welsh public service for many years, so I warmly welcome his appointment to this role.

“I would like to thank Shan for her leadership of the Welsh civil service during these most challenging of times, and wish her well for the future”.

Dr Goodall has been Director General for Health and Social Services and Chief Executive of NHS Wales since 2014. Prior to this he was Chief Executive of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

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He said: “It is a great honour to take up the role of Permanent Secretary of the Welsh Government. I look forward to working with staff across the civil service and the wider Welsh public sector workforce.

“There are major challenges ahead but I am confident that we can rise to them by working together, and building on the foundations that Shan has laid over the last five years.”

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Permanent Secretaries are appointed on fixed five year contracts following an open and rigorous civil service competition.

Dame Shan said: “I consider myself extremely fortunate to have worked with such a fantastic group of people on things that have made a huge difference to people in Wales at one of the most challenging times in our history.

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“Although much of my time has inevitably been spent fire-fighting, my focus as Permanent Secretary has been to try to develop a more resilient, skilled and capable civil service for the future, as well as making the organisation a fairer, more inclusive place to work.

“I wish Andrew all the best and will be working closely with him as he takes up the role.”

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Sport

Extra £4.5 million investment in Welsh sporting facilities announced

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The Welsh Government is investing a further £4.5m of capital funding this year in new sport facilities across Wales, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden has announced today.

The additional capital funding will support projects to enhance facilities, which will help drive increased participation across a wide range of sports. The funding will be delivered through Sport Wales.

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This brings the total capital investment in sport by the Welsh Government this year to more than £13.2m with projects supported in every part of Wales and across a wide range of sports from football, gymnastics to swimming.

Deputy Minister, Dawn Bowden said: “Investing in sporting facilities is a key commitment in our Programme for Government and is integral to our nation’s health and wellbeing as we recover from the pandemic.

“This package reflects the value we continue to place on our sports facilities as environments that create inclusive opportunities for people to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of sport, and to unleash their sporting potential.

Brian Davies, Sport Wales Acting Chief Executive said:  “Without available facilities, there is no way that we can achieve our aim of giving every person in Wales the opportunity to be physically active, which is why we’re delighted to have received this additional funding from the Welsh Government. 

“All of the investment has been earmarked following an expression of interest process that took place at the end of last year, which demonstrated a need for the additional money and has allowed us to identify priority projects. 

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“We’ve worked with the sector to ensure a geographical spread and that a range of sports and activities are to be supported. Careful consideration has also been given in attempting to ensure that the investment will benefit those communities  needing it most.” 

Noel Mooney, FAW Chief Executive, said: “We welcome the Welsh Government’s increased support for sports facilities to improve so many lives both mentally and physically. It is clear that the Welsh Government and Sport Wales understand the power of sport for a better society and this announcement offers optimism and light towards a bright future”

Many projects across Wales have already benefited from funding this year. As part of a £2m project, House of Sport, Cardiff has installed new flooring in the bespoke centre for netball that will also host the Celtic Dragons.

In north Wales the North Wales Velodrome, Denbighshire, £2million has been earmarked to the development of a new outdoor velodrome.

And in Caldicot, Wye Galaxy Gymnastics Club, has been awarded £4,000 as part of the crowdfunding Place for Sport fund to support the creation of a new café at the club which will host fit and fed sessions for local children, offer a regular dementia café and provide work placement opportunities for people with autism and learning difficulties.

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Carly Hawke, CEO of Wye Gymnastics and Galaxy Cheerleading, said: “We can’t wait to see this project come to life. While improving the experience of parents and supporters of the club, the café will also act as a hub for our local community which is really important to us.  

“The donation from Sport Wales boosted our fundraising activity, added immense value and increased public confidence in the project, encouraging them to contribute, too. We’re grateful for their support – and would urge any local clubs in need of fundraising help to get in touch.”  

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Coronavirus

Self-isolation period reduced in Wales

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woman in white hijab covering her face with white blanket

People who test positive for Covid-19 will be able to leave self-isolation after five full days if they have two negative lateral flow tests, Health Minister Eluned Morgan has confirmed.

The two consecutive negative lateral flow tests must be taken on days five and six of the isolation period.

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The changes are being made after a thorough examination of the evidence from Public Health Wales and bring Wales into line with changes made elsewhere in the UK.

They will come into effect from 28 January, at the same time as Wales is expected to complete the move to alert level zero.

A shorter self-isolation period will support public services and businesses by reducing pressures on the workforce through Covid-related staff absences.

Financial support through the Self-Isolation Support Scheme which will return to the original payment rate of £500 in recognition of the shorter isolation period.  People who need support with essentials such as shopping and pharmacy goods will be able to access help through their local authority and voluntary organisations. 

Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan said: “Self-isolation is one of the most effective ways of preventing the onward spread of this virus and disrupting its transmission. But self-isolating for long periods can have a negative impact on our mental health and can be damaging for our public services and the wider economy.

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“After carefully reviewing all the available evidence, we believe that testing on days five and six together with five full days of isolation will have the same protective effect as a 10-day isolation period.

“But it is really important everyone self-isolates and uses lateral flow tests in the way advised to ensure they protect others from the risk of infection.

“The response from the public has been outstanding in Wales throughout the pandemic and we want to thank everyone for working with us to keep Wales safe.

“The booster jab has lessened the likelihood of severe cases of the virus and hospitalisation so I encourage anyone who is yet to have their vaccine to take up the offer.”

If a person is currently self-isolating as a positive case, or tests positive for Covid-19, they must self-isolate for five full days and should take a lateral flow test on day five and another test 24 hours later on day six.

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If both results are negative, it is likely they are not infectious and can stop isolating.

But anyone who tests positive on either day five or day six must continue to self-isolate until they have two negative tests taken 24 hours apart or until day 10, whichever comes first.

This change reflects the latest evidence from Public Health Wales. Guidance on self-isolation for those working in more sensitive areas such as health and care will issue shortly. 

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Health

Extra £2.2m pledged for Welsh hospices

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Hospices in Wales will receive an extra £2.2m as part of the Welsh Government’s end-of-life care review.

Of the funding, £888k will go to the two children’s hospices – Tŷ Hafan and Tŷ Gobaith – and the remainder will be shared by the adult hospice services across Wales.

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This funding is on top of the £13.8m already allocated by the Welsh Government to support the sector and strengthen bereavement support throughout the pandemic.

The announcement is part of phase one of the end-of-life care review. The second phase will look at wider end-of-life care provision from April 2022, overseen by the new programme board for end-of-life care.

The funding has been allocated in the Welsh Government’s draft Budget and will be distributed on a recurring basis from April 2022 onwards.

Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan said:  “Hospices are a critical part of our healthcare service in Wales, providing essential care to more than 20,000 people in Wales affected by terminal illnesses each year, helping to prevent avoidable admissions to hospital. More than 85% of that care is provided in the community.

“This has never been more needed than over the last two years when, throughout the pandemic, hospices have been there to support patients, families and carers through the most difficult of times in the most difficult of circumstances.

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“We are committed to strengthening our focus on end-of-life care and we will continue to work closely with the new national programme board to drive actions across government and with stakeholders to improve end-of-life care services for all.”

Chief Executive of Tŷ Hafan children’s hospice Maria Timon Samra said: “Together with Tŷ Gobaith we have been campaigning for a sustainable funding solution for Wales’ children’s hospices. We are delighted by the Welsh Government’s commitment to act on the recommendations of the hospice funding review, an important first step in achieving this goal. 

“We thank the Minister, Eluned Morgan, Deputy Minster, Julie Morgan, and Members from across the Chamber, for their support for this Lifeline Fund, not forgetting those government officials who have also worked on this review.  

“We look forward to continuing to work with them to create a Wales that is more compassionate and supports children with life-limiting conditions and their families for whom our hospices are often the only place they can receive crisis and respite care and support.” 

Andy Goldsmith, Chief Executive of Tŷ Gobaith Children’s Hospice, said: “I’d like to thank the Welsh Government to responding to our ask for fair and sustainable funding for Wales’ two children’s hospices.

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“This increased funding is a major first step forward in ensuring the ‘Lifeline’ that children’s hospices provide is available for every child and family that needs us. We look forward to continuing to work with the Welsh Government to fund and develop services to meet the growing and changing need for the specialist care and bereavement support that both Tŷ Gobaith and Tŷ Hafan provide in Wales.”

Before the pandemic started, approximately two-thirds of hospices’ income came from fundraising activities.

The Welsh Government’s emergency funding of £13.8m was used to support hospices as they lost income from charitable activities; protect their core services and to strengthen bereavement support.

The end-of-life care review was led by a NHS Collaborative team which analysed information submitted by hospices and held regular meetings to keep them informed of progress.

The additional £2.2m funding provides hospices across Wales with a significant increase to their core funding allocations and offers a level of certainty on which they can plan and deliver future service provision

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(Lead image: Tŷ Hafan)

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