14/04/2013 The Wales Report


As the measles epidemic continues to spread, should more be done to improve awareness of public health issues? And what effect will welfare changes have on households in Wales?

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measles epidemic in Swansea. Should the MMR be obligatory for all


children? Welfare of people - a special report by the Paralympic


champion and member of the House of Lords, tanning great champion --


tanning great Thomson. And wait take on closer look at Mrs Thatcher's


involvement in Wales. -- we take a closer look. Great to be back, The


Wales Report will examine the issues and to hold the decision-makers to


account. One of those decision-makers -- what are they


doing about the measles epidemic? There are growing fears that the


epidemic will spread and one expert says it is certain to spread to


Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Public Health Wales believes that


40,000 miles children remain unvaccinated. Emergency clinics have


in full this weekend, all of which prompts rather big question - if


parents are not responsible, shouldn't the authorities take steps


to make the MMR mandatory? It has been an anxious time for parents in


Swansea. And the queues at the emergency clinics get longer as the


outbreak grows. More than 6000 people, many teenagers, still have


not been vaccinated against measles here. Measles can involve much more


than a fever and a rash. Obligations can lead to deafness, brain damage


and it can kill. This is the second egg measles outbreak in West Wales.


Four years ago there was another without break and fewer than ten


miles away from here. This nursery was at the centre. 265 people had


the disease and VM's. Was one of four children attending the nursery


who ended up in hospital. I woke up one morning and she was still in


bed, not responding. I called the doctor and the doctors said it was


measles and she sent us to the hospital, and we were admitted. It


was a horrible time. She was lifeless, it was one of the scariest


things I have been through as a mother. The outbreak in Swansea is


three times eager. And she is terrified that other daughter will


get it. Although Olivia is too young to have the vaccine, her mother is


among a number of parents asking for the jab early to give their babies


protection. There is a panic. Thinking she will go through what


Abigail has been through. We have spoken to the doctor and they are


willing to have her go down to have it earlier. They are happy for her


to have that. So, why is this big outbreak happening? Why here and


now? In the 1990s, there was widespread panic. There was the


publication of the now discredited research strongly linked the MMR


with autism. The number of babies receiving the MMR -- MMR dropped


across the UK but in Swansea, it plummeted. The finger of blame has


been pointed at the South Wales Evening Post, which at the time that


the campaign which featured worried local parents. The editor at the


time stands by his story. As I saw it, the concerns were totally


genuine. What were we supposed to do? Tell them to go away? Newspapers


listen to readers and report and they go to the relevant people and


say, what have you got to say? that the outbreak we have no is


happening, any regrets? No, it is impossible to have regrets because I


am certain that if we wind the clock back and started again, I cannot


imagine any bees and why we would not do it the same way. At no time


did the newspaper ever say to parents, do not let your children


have this? We never said that. I could argue that I regret the health


authority did not make that point more effectively. Since then,


professionals have been proactive in trying to rebuild trust in the MMR


vaccine. Now, many in the medical community want to go further. They


are calling for tougher rules to make sure children are immunised.


The first thing we should do is to ask for some evidence that the child


has been immunised before they are allowed into school and that happens


in America. Would that work?I do not know but we must try because we


presently have a nasty outbreak of measles and we are hoping there


won't be too many children affected severely and hoping we shall not get


what is likely to be the inevitable death. What will it take to convince


parents together children immunised? Will the week -- will be the


required to have vaccines before being let into nurseries in order to


stop another outbreak? Helen Callaghan. Joining the night, the


Director of Health detection for Public Health Wales. So many


concerned parents. What can you tell me? This outbreak has not gone away,


we are still seeing 100 new cases every week and I am concerned the


schools are opening next week and there will be huge opportunities for


this to spread, more than over the Easter holidays. The vaccine is the


only thing that. This, there are far too many children who have never


been protected. We have seen parents demanding it. What is the level of


demand? At the level that you think is showing a good response? There is


no doubt that there must have been about 3000 parents across South


Wales yesterday. That is tremendous. However, the children we really need


to vaccinate or the older children and we have not seen them coming in


the same numbers. What is your message to the parents of teenagers


who are reluctant or think they have time on their hands? The important


thing is that they signed the consent form, that is at the bottom


of the schoolbag, so look out. Sign that and make sure their child


leaves school with appropriate protection. I am convinced in my own


mind that we have won the war. MMR is safe. You can see parents with


little babies. I thought that everybody had agreed that it is?


That argument was resolved some years ago? That is true, the Lancet


in 2010, they said that. But for parents to be convinced. We have


never had such media coverage or talked about the forgotten older


children. We have not engaged parents of those children for a very


long time in such an effective way. What kind of challenge are you


looking at? How many people do you need to get vaccinated in the months


to come? I would not like to say months, there is an urgency as soon


as is. Within one month?Yes, huge efforts to capture the children in


schools. How many?If you look at children who should have had at


least one vaccination, there are 40,000. Children aged between five


and 18, we should have had two doses, another 30,000. So about


70,000 children. Within one month? This is across Wales and this is a


priority, it is a public health emergency, and if we don't do this


now, you might never get the opportunity again. While we have the


media support. While this is on everybody's mind. Nobody wants to


see any death. We might have to rip -- favoured sources but it should


happen. Everybody will understand the force behind that statement. Is


death possible to? It is, there were six in France in 2011 and five of


those working ages. If we don't vaccinate, it will happen.


parents watching, still wondering if you are on top of this, what do you


say? I think we have done a huge amount, there is a real effort to


get this done in schools and they understand the seriousness, they


understand that the vaccine is the only way to prevent the spread and I


want them to work with us, the ball is in their court. In the weeks


coming forward. Get the consent form. In some cases, is it not worth


taking the ball out of their court and making this obligatory? I would


not like that. I think parents choice is very important and parent


choice based on good, accurate information is crucial. The choices


that parents made 13 years ago were based on what they understood to be


the risks. While the professionals might have said it was safe, they


did not hear that, they saw a motive parents on television and heard


tragic stories and they made the decision that was right for their


children. They now recognise, and I have spoken to parents, that if they


could go back, they would. But they did not know. It'll be a very month


ahead. We wish you well. Thank you very much. This month sees the


introduction of the biggest changes ever and limited in the welfare


system. A study this week by Sheffield Hallam University says the


changes will have a particularly adverse impact in Wales. Of the ten


local authorities, most heavily affected across the UK, three of


them are in Wales. Tony Grey Thomson that came into force two weeks ago


have described as the biggest shift since its inception. The restructure


was required to make the system more simple. But also because of the


number of times that cost was mentioned, to save money. I don't


think anybody would have created a system that ended up being this


contributed or this expensive. There are very few people who do not agree


that reform is needed. It is harder to agree what that looks like.


Successive governments have tried to tackle this demand inefficiency but


it is an uphill battle. Welfare is an emotive issue. The language of


elephant scroungers has changed to strivers and skivers. They remind me


of the undeserving and deserving poor of the 1940s and I don't now


anybody who thinks those who cheat the system should be allowed to. But


part of the problem does lie in public perception and in reality,


those cheating are relatively few. Emotion exists in the language and


nowhere is this more clearly seen than when discussing the bedroom


tax. Regardless of whether you think this is a tax or a subsidy, the


words have got people talking in recent months. Steve from carefully


as one of those people whose lives will be seriously affected by the


new tax rules. The former security guard who worked all his life but


had to give up his job because of chronic kidney disease needs


dialysis three times a week and his spare bedroom has been transformed


into his treatment room. The one spare room that they say I have,


they want to stop 14 % of my housing benefit, roughly �12 a week, that is


money I simply have not got. Benefits, that is not a great deal


of money, it is the bare minimum that they think you can survive on.


�50 a month out of that is going to be a real hardship for me. It is not


a lifestyle choice. It is not, this is not a life, this is just an


existence. It is hard to argue against the philosophy that people


should be living in appropriate sized housing for their needs. But


what has been attempted here is a correction to policy. But holding


the right size automotive housing where it is really needed. There is


no quick fix. The reality of moving people is somewhat different to when


you see it written down. Because of the move in people, it is not


quantifiable and the true cost I'd only be realised in several years,


when we can look back and analyse the data. Recent UK government


statements have suggested that reining in the welfare spending will


be an extremely challenging task. But I believe a huge amount could be


achieved in terms of savings are looking at the administration of the


system. By ensuring that benefit assessments carried out robbery in


the first place and that the number of cases that go to appeal and


overturned down. Sadly, that is part of the detail that we are never able


to get our teeth into and why Case-study we saw the film, is that


the sort of person who should they lose out? In no way can the use of


that room, where we saw that they Ellis's machine, can that be


described as a spare room. What are his options klezmer going through


an appeals process? One of the things we have then is double the


amount of money available for Wales local authorities through


discretion the housing payments to help the hard cases. Without


knowing all the full details, just from what I saw, he is exactly a


difficult case their knees and additional support. He clearly


feels that within the rules as they are on paper he will be caught up


in it. That is telling people that you are not targeting the right


people. There is a lot of fear around. Any change brings with it


uncertainty. We're talking about vulnerable people and our job as a


politicians is to get close to these people. We could be looking


at a clip of eight-bedroom with an two bunk bed and a four children.


The issue of housing overcrowding as well as the issue of single


people or couples living in three- bedroom houses where they have


generally spare rooms. There is a real issue of fairness here as well,


how we manage the housing stock and a change we're bringing means


people living in council houses will have to make the same chain --


decisions as people living in privates homes. In your area, how


many sports -- spare properties do you have? The great demand in our a


for two and three-bedroom houses. I get people coming into my surgery


wanting to move out to their one- bedroom properties. It is something


we started to see even before the change kicked in. People were


living into a three-bedroom properties, started to were cows


they were not going to be able to afford the extra to stay where they


are. They are arranging swaps were tenants a one-bedroom properties.


People can do that on the website of the local authorities. If people


are making decisions. One-bedroom properties are being released. I'm


not trying to downplay the issue of the shortage. Not everybody


currently under an occupying will be required to move. Some of them


will say they value the spare room and will pay for it. Some of the


research we did shows in some areas of Wales, there is no council stock


of the smaller properties, one- bedroom homes where people could


move to. In those cases people don't have a choice, they will have


to take the brunt of the reform. depends on what they want to do. If


they want to downsize there is an issue. I recognise that. One of the


reasons we are through the discretionary housing payments, we


want to help the transition so it might be somebody wants to move


because they can't afford to stay on won't be able to afford it. They


won the that belong go in there comes property to manage the change


will stop the payments will help them do that if their local


authority are using those funds. point of principle, do you think


and the research by Sheffield Hallam is clear, do you think Wales


is being asked to share a greater burden of this than other parts of


the UK? No, I don't think Wales has been asked to shoulder a bigger


burden. We have a greater proportion of people in Wales who


were reliant on benefits, we have a greater proportion of people in


Wales who are registered as disabled. Any change to the welfare


system will impact Wales. Fourth actually, when you look at the


fruit of what the reformers bring through, encouraging people back


into work, supporting people to live fuller lives, you come to the


conclusion Wales needs welfare reform just as much as anybody else.


You have seen the list because the 10 local authorities across the UK


most affected by a welfare report, top-ten, is start with Blackpool,


then Merthyr Tydfil is number four and then you come to Blaenau Gwent


and Neath. If that is three in the top 10. What does that tell you?


Way you have concentrated pockets of high unemployment you also get a


concentration of people relying on benefits particularly disability


benefits. And he's the type of people should be shouldering these


changes? -- are these. If you are saying we should be running to the


barricades to defend the existing system, a system that has kept two


and 1,000 people in West from ever working at the end their life, that


locks whole communities in worklessness, then no. What we're


trying to do through our welfare reform, Tanni Grey-Thompson


mentioned simplifying the system, it is about fairness and also about


restoring the value of work, the incentives to work into the system.


If the welfare system far too often encourages people to stay on


benefits and does not create pathways out of poverty. We know


work is the only sure way out of poverty. Hopefully in a few moans


we will have you back and we will talk about the changes. -- in a few


months. The headlines have been dominated by the death of by Miss


Thatcher. Lot of the news and comment focused on that we deeply


divided opinions of what the latter years achieved. Those divisions


addit cues which isn't surprising when you consider the traumatic


offered -- episode of the miners' strike. Her visits to Wales often


sparked a lot of controversy. new industries aren't the heavy,


clanking, dirty condition industries. They are good, clean


industries. Doesn't that please do? Doesn't that please do? Owed cheer


up. That was Margaret Thatcher. She was speaking on a memorable visit


to South Wales. Joining me now is the former Labour MP, Dr Kim


Howells. Also joining us is Cheryl Gillan. Can I ask you, how much of


an inspiration was Margaret Thatcher to you? She was the reason


I got into politics. I was active in politics but never thought I


would be an MP. A lot of women think like that and I didn't think


it was for a woman. I remember in 1979 when she was leader of the


opposition I sat almost next to her at the dinner for other candidates


and she told me that I should be thinking about being an MP. I


walked away from that in and sat with a whole load of male


colleagues and set, "I think she was right". For she inspired a lot


of people in Wales. She started the buying the council houses scheme.


She had the influence which was powerful enough to get 14


Conservative MPs elected in Wales. People forget that. They tend to


paint a picture of the 1980s as being a Tory-free zone in Wales. It


wasn't. He even when I was elected in 1989, there were 14 Conservative


MPs in Wales. Rise from the north all the way to the south. She had


an effect. She had another effect which has really resonated over the


past week since Lady Thatcher died. She had her virtues, she also had


some civvy his defects, I think. The way she treated the call feels


was one of them. Defects, do you agree? She did say in that famous


speech when there was a vote of no confidence in the Labour government


when she was leader of the opposition, no government can


protect yesterday's jobs for ever. They can all put off the inevitable.


That is how she saw a lot of our industrialisation, many of these


jobs were the jobs for the past and could not been protected. We had to


look for the jobs for the future. She was also passionate about


reducing the involvement of the state which was enormous in those


days and giving people individual freedom. We have mentioned the


council house sales but reducing the level of personal taxation


because she thought Welsh -- wealth creation was important. If we talk


about the strength of the Conservatives in the 1980s, has


started in 1979 when the upswing for the Tories happened. To what


extent was that all about Mrs Thatcher and her brand of


leadership? To what extent was it about the 1970s? She knew what the


feeling of the time was. I remember right in the middle of the strike


we wanted a quiet look and some ports in Essex which we heard were


importing coal. In London, we were keeping as if we had landed from


Mars at the wealth and the excess as seemed to be on the streets of


the city of London in the middle of the miners' strike in 1984. There


were severe deprivation here. It was a tale of two nations by any


definition. I think Mrs Thatcher understood that. Many politicians


did not. We didn't. Cheryl Gillan is quite right, industries lose


their primacy and their purpose but, remember, they are not just jobs,


the are not an abstract quality, they are people. The way people are


treated has an impact upon their psychology in subsequent years.


That is why there is such bitterness. If it had been managed


better, the decline of that industry, the wheeze was phased out


and new jobs coming in and people would be thinking differently about


it. But believe me they don't. There are still a lot of people who


feel very, very badly about Lady Thatcher event within News she has


died. I just think we forget Wales was having not just a tough time


but was having a really tough time under Labour governments in terms


of the income policies, in terms of what was happening with the mines.


If so many mines were closed under Wilson and Callaghan. Even people


wanting to protect and develop the Welsh language were not exactly


getting good feedback from the Labour government at the time. It


took a Conservative government to bring in S4C. That wonderful


turnaround in the election and the 14 MPs was the reaction to Labour's


treatment of Wales and Wales on the Welsh people wanted to give


somebody else a chance. If a final force for you both, one commentator


said we have to accept, and the conservatism have to accept, there


will always be divided opinion about Margaret Thatcher. -- the


Conservatives will have to accept. What would you say? That is right.


She was at a strong character and so decisive and so deferens in her


views and in her leadership, there will always be discussions about


her. We have got to remember there were good things as well as bad


things from the perspective of Wales. He then the health and


social benefit went up three times. -- health and social budget.


Unemployment doubled. It was a time of transition but his was be


remembered as the time of creative, imaginative time. It will be seen


as an attack, communities that we valued so much in Wales and


continue to value. We have survived it. I hope people remember that


community is important. I'm not sure Margaret Thatcher believed


that. I think she did. You must remember, as long as you're not


selected in your memories. I am not going to be selective, in saying


As the measles epidemic in Swansea continues to spread, should more be done to improve awareness of public health issues? And what effect will the biggest changes to the welfare system since its inception have on households in Wales?

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