17/02/2013 The Wales Report


Is a change in the law the best way to increase organ donation? And in times of austerity, one Welsh author is warning that Wales's children are falling into cultural poverty.

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We look at plans to change the law Welcome to the The Wales Report.


Good evening and welcome to the programme that looks at the issues


that matter. There are currently more than 200 people waiting for an


organ transplant. Only 30% of us are registered as organ donors. The


Welsh Government says it has the answer by creating the first opt-


out system in the UK. If it is approved it means everyone will be


seen as a willing donor when they die unless they have stated


Medicine has at man dramatically. Auden donations made headlines


India's previous. Since those days, surgery has been increasingly


sophisticated and successful, yet today in Wales patients are dying


at the rate of one a week at because there are not enough organs


for operations. It was six years before Melanie was able to have her


kidney transplant. She considers herself lucky and is convinced


changing the law will increase donor numbers and stop others


having to go through the agony of The opt-out system will raise


numbers on the organ Donor Register. The a at the moment, we have to opt


into the system to become organ donors.


We have to make our wishes clear by signing up to the organ Donor


Register, carrying a card or telling family and friends about


our wishes. Under the new law, they will be a presumption we all want


to be organ donors unless we opt out of the system.


The if the plans are approved this year, the law will come into effect


in 2015. The moral debate is already under way, and aside from


the ethical discussion, some in the medical profession have deep


concerns about how it will work in practice. They say the plans have


not been thought through and insufficient funding need lead to


chaos. One academic says the whole policy is based on misleading


information. In explaining the new plans, the


Welsh Government has stated that Spain's use of the soft opt-out


system has driven up organ donor levels, but some claim that


presumed consent is not the reason for Spain's success.


To pass a bill with such a misleading statement is an


incredible thing to do. Do To do what the Spanish are doing


with public relations and so on. There are extra organs available


for transplant. But there will be more strain on facilities. Some are


worried we will not have enough intensive care beds to cope. There


has not been any increased capacity to take into account the


legislation. We feel if we could increase capacity we could


potentially increase the use of. would have profound implications


for our nurses. At the moment there are only 15 specialist donor nurses


in Wales. They are trained to have that delicate conversation.


requires a specialist skill said. Of course we will meet nursing and


medical staff. We do have bona specialists but only a small number.


Implementing the changes will cause -- cost an estimated �5 million


over the next five years. There will need to be extra intensive


care facilities as well as extra training for staff and setting up a


register. As well as that there will be a comprehensive public


awareness campaign. The Welsh Government told us they are


confident with the planned changes. They are already looking at


training resources. They are not seeking to copy any particular


country but will put in place a system that is right for Wales.


changes your life completely. It has given my husband back his wife,


my parents back their daughter. I am now a wife, sister, and tea,


daughter, not a patient. -- and. Joining me now is the cheer of the


assembly's health committee. He is this really going to make a


difference? Every single witness who comes in front of us says we


want to make sure the system increases the number of donors, the


number of organs available for donation. What you will also here


is a lot of concern from clinicians at the sharp end who say we do not


have the capacity for this. That would be true whatever course you


took to increased ownership. It is equally possible to argue that the


issue is not intrinsic to the bill. If you raised the number of donors


in any other way you would still have the same issue. You cannot do


this unless you increase resources. Everybody knows that up and down


the land it is difficult to find a bed under the existing system.


ambition for the Bill is that it would lead to 15 new donors have


been Wales in every calendar year. That has won every six months. Is


it likely to tip the system into a manageability? We are very generous


people on the hall. Voluntary donations and Wales at the second


highest in Europe, that begs the question why do we need to do this?


That is a debate that has been raised with us, would there be an


easier way to lead to more organ donors? You will also know that


because of a lot of these specialist procedures they will


have to happen over the border. Heart transplants take place in


Birmingham and so on. The whole thing needs to be joined up. There


is not a simple geographic border with something as specialist as


organ donation. Some of the practical issues about when they


are debated and Wendy are used are important. There are financial


implications in that. -- when they are used. The questions that are


being booked and challenged in that report, insufficient funding, has


not been clearly thought through, we are ploughing our own furrow


when we should not be, we have to be joined up. We do have to be


joined up. I do not think we have heard evidence that suggests the


financial implications have not been thought through. It has been


confirmed what the Government said to us that if we invest more in


organ donation we will save money we are currently spending on a very


unsatisfactory quality of life for people, kidney dialysis for example.


That money will be released back into the donor service. There are


people out with placards campaigning every week to keep


their health services opened yet you want to introduce a whole new


service on top of that. The flaw in the question is that it assumes the


money that is being spent on donation is not being spent already.


People who will be fitter from the extra donations are people who are


being treated now in the NHS. you very much indeed. Most of us at


the moment are looking very suspiciously at what is on our


plate. The horsemeat scandal has been dogging us for weeks and there


are still products disappearing from our shelves over this weekend.


Now worries about the meat that is supplied to schools across the


country. What can be done to restore faith in the food we eat


and what can be done with one of her most important industries,


farming. I am joined by an The AM who is also a farmer. It was


suggested that ministers were warned about this scandal with


course make being in the food chain 18 months ago. Consumer confidence


is so important. There are stories coming out from all sorts of angles.


It is important that ministers focus on the job in hand, making


sure confidence is restored in the processing sector. What is


important is that ministers do the job properly. If it is true they


were warned 18 months ago that there was horsemeat in the food


chain why on Earth did they not take action then? The key point is,


if it were true. What I am interested in and concerned about


is that we focus all our energies on cleaning up the act of the


processors. This is not about journalism or the media but about


public confidence in the food chain. That has been very badly shaken.


The Government has a role to play, has it not? We need to restore


confidence. From the primary sector of the farming side, we are


regulated, we have the checks in place. People can have complete


confidence. What we have found is because of the difference in the


price of meat and horsemeat people have been fraudulently adding


horsemeat to beef. People have to be brought to book on this and I


hope they are charged with the full Fraudulent activity has happened,


we have to make sure that is pushed out of the sector. We have good


bring back the confidence the consumer has in the food industry.


What is the Welsh Government doing? The Welsh Government needs to work


collaboratively with Whitehall, because there are two spheres of


influence, animal welfare legislation and consumer of


legislation. But the consumer does not want to hear bickering, they


want to hear it has been cleaned up and they can produce a product with


complete confidence. Can you honestly say at the moment that


they can do that? Yes, if they are just a product that has been


produced at home, has the former steward label on it, they can put


us that with confidence. -- has the a steward label on it.


Thank you very much indeed. G and on next week's programme, we


will have a special investigation into our food, tracking it from the


farm to your plate. Poverty in Wales and the gap


between the haves and there have nots in society is widening. Is it


really a fact of life that can never be changed gimlet after


benefiting from countless European and Government schemes, some parts


of Wales still seemed to be pop -- stat in a poverty trap. Our


correspondent is investigating the many local schemes to combat


deprivation. Several years since his last visit and millions of


pounds of investment later, David has returned to one area to find


that while initiatives have changed the level of poverty seemingly has


An invisible pall of poverty hangs over places like this estate. Set


in beautiful countryside just outside Merthyr Tydfil, it remains


socially isolated and invariably singled out as the epicentre of


multiple deprivation in Wales and all that goes with it.


Statistically, this is a pretty ugly place, relegated to the wrong


end of every table used to measure everything from unemployment to


education, to health, to crime, and It fills me with sadness to have


become back to this place and say the same things over, and over


again. But, despite the efforts of remarkable individuals, despite the


investment of millions of Pounds in worthwhile projects, and despite


the promise of politicians of all colours, the same stench of poverty


purveyed this place. -- pervades this place.


It is a malignancy that threatens to side and we consume its host.


Some have even suggested we should give up on this estate.


-- threatened to silently consumed. More Martin O'Neill, who was


brought up you, does not think so. He is the chair of a community


project, a beacon of hope in an island of despair.


The problems people face here are sometimes too subtle to quantify,


but those who live here at know what is missing, including


essentials like a health centre. They had won, but then they took it


away. -- they had a health centre. He the building was quite old and


money needed to be spent on upgrading the infrastructure to


make it fit for purpose. There is no health centre now?


Not on the estate, no. In one of the sickest communities


in the UK? Are on top of that there has been a


planned new health centre of built in the centre of Merthyr Tydfil,


but the problem is getting there. The Community Group has helped to


transform this place and transformed the heart of the


community. It was once known as a route. Now the graffiti spells out


something different, a belief in some kind of future. For many, it


is a future dependent on benefits. If you have to move into employment,


if you have to move to to education, sometimes you need some support. If


you were sick, you need support. Benefits have been a way of life


here for as long as I can remember. Benefits - what does that would


mean? Who has benefited from living in a place like this? -- what does


that would mean. Every time I have come here over the last 30 years,


it is to report people suffering, people struggling and people trying


definitely -- desperately to overcome problems that threaten to


overwhelm them. The lucky ones escape, most don't. Instead they


struggle with the consequences. Statistics are an impersonal


measure of what is happening here, that they are stuck. One in


particular hit me forcibly - in the last ten years, the number of


people who have never worked on this estate has almost doubled to


over 500 people. The you are familiar with these,


employment rates in Merthyr Tydfil below 60%. This is the second


lowest are amongst 12 -- 22 Welsh local authorities. Then on it goes


- health, crime, the same old stories. Nothing much has moved,


has it? No, it is not moving, but those numbers have to be


appreciated in the face of a global economic recession. Without that


investment, where would the fakers be? Back in the 1920s, they talked


about abandoning the police. Is that really an option, or should we


think about how to address the issues we are facing and not


abandoned the community? There have been schemes which have tried to


introduce some practical solutions come and give some hope to this


place. Schemes like a cooking project,


I remember this. This was a busy place.


Diane succeeded in injecting more than just cooking skills into this


project. The ones we had done a week or two


of Coke -- of cooking, we thought, why don't we do IT next? Why don't


we do English? Somebody wants to do child development. The cooking


classes opened up a new way of life for many single young mothers, who


freely admitted that they had never learned to cook and usually fed


their children with takeaways and chips. Lots of chips.


Chips, chips, chips. It is much easier doing a healthy salad than


ordering out takeaways continuously. The cooking project, which I filmed


six years ago, has long gone. Its effectiveness in transforming the


lives of a handful of individuals, however, has not been forgotten.


But the transient nature of such schemes, vital in areas of


deprivation, is both regrettable and hurtful.


It is no good stopping projects and letting people down, because we are


probably doing more damage than good. If somebody is engaging with


you and trusting in you, to then send them away and saying we cannot


do anything more with you, I think There is still investment going on


in this place, including extensive refurbishment work on the


infrastructure of the social housing. Long overdue. There is the


prospect of another �1.5 million worth of investment in community


schemes over the next two years. But it was hoped there would be


more than double that amount available. And, to compound the


financial problems, many areas here have found they no longer Pok --


qualified for communities first funding, provided by the Welsh


Government. Just when there appeared to be a


glimmer of hope and the estate was looking a lot better, at least


cosmetically, it was dealt another blow. Well, in fact, a double


whammy in the shape of the global financial crisis and the


Westminster Government's welfare reforms. A combination which


threatens to combine, to destabilise the social structure of


this place and undo so much of the good that has been done to try and


improve the lives of the people here.


David Williams there. Training now is the Children's Commissioner for


Wales, who is particularly concerned about how we are tackling


child poverty. It is a depressing story that,


isn't it? Do we just have to accept that children born into that kind


of poverty are going to have to look forward to a life of poverty


GMac I do not think we should accept it at all, some of the


things that came through it in the film is that people are working


really hard to mitigate the effects of poverty on children living in


disadvantaged families. The Welsh Government has signed up


to the UN Convention on the rights of the child. The only Government


across the UK, or the world, do have legislated in favour of the


Convention. That places a responsibility on Welsh Government


to think about the ways we can ensure all young people, regardless


of their circumstances, can get access to education and decent food.


A but we keep setting targets. The Welsh Government has set the target


of eradicating child poverty by 2020, is and that on realistic?


It is completely unrealistic now to think we will never hold on to the


target for 2020. Children's lives are at risk because of this, I


spend a lot of time talking to children talking to them about what


is important to them, and things like a decent education and good


food to eat or important to them. Are we also guilty of giving people


hope, an idea, an ambition? Absolutely, I think education is


all about making sure every child can fulfil their individual


potential. One of the most depressing lines about that film


was that back in the 1920s people were talking about giving up on


Merthyr Tydfil, and some people are talking about that today.


Some people are, but I would say, come with me there, some of the


best time of my life has been on the estate.


Of course, the effects of poverty are not only measured by levels of


employment and the food we feed our children. Hard times call for belt-


tightening across all aspects of life, including leisure time. With


less money available for cinema trips and local libraries are under


threat, Welsh Opera John Gower has been on a trip to the riverfront


theatre of and arts centre in Newport to voice his concerns that


will children are falling into cultural poverty. -- Welsh author


You can get a pretty good sense of how old a person is by asking them


which was the first James Bond movie they ever saw. In my case, it


was Dr no, which I saw in the classic fleapit cinema of the


Palace Theatre in Llanelli. Since then, there have been periods in my


life when you could describe be as a semi-professional movie Gore,


racking up to four or five films a day. Some children in Wales have


never been to the cinema because of poverty. No blockbusters, no All


Disney, no popcorn, sometimes because there is no cinema nearby,


or simply because ticket prices are prohibitive. Because in Wales up to


a quarter of children live within child poverty.


When we are talking about child poverty, we're not just talking


about education and nutrition, although cultural experience can be


a sort of nutrition. I would go as far as to see it is food for the


soul, but it is also educational, Imagination and creativity have


enormous value in the real world. The Confederation of British


Industry reckons that in 2013 there will be no fewer than 1.3 million


jobs in the creative industries. But you are not going to get on in


pretty much any industry if you cannot read and write, and


illiteracy, which shut people out of learning, is a new plate on our


communities. It is like locking the door on the world of books and


throwing away the key. -- is a new light. I am not sure where things


started to go wrong. When I grew up, learning was held


in very high regard in Wales and we were exporting teachers as much as


coal and steel. Now, Ilott to wreak -- illiteracy is a new scourge, and


stories from Hans Christian Andersen to Charles Dickens are


being locked away from our children. Horizon's contract and there as a


poverty of ambition, too. -- horizons contract.


It could not be impossible to show some of the world's great films or


include some of the finest stories between the covers of a book in the


classroom, should it? I try and imagine my own life without such


things, and it is a poverty beyond imagining.


Well, the Children's Commissioner for Wales is still with me. Is he


right? For I think he is absolutely right about cultural poverty, and


he is absolutely right about children and young people not


getting access to those things. I did a fantastic piece of work


this year with kids in museums, where museums were looking at


developing a new relationship between themselves and children.


What we saw from that was the rich breadth of experience that children


and families got from it, and understanding of their cultural


history and their contribution as artists, creators and writers.


But we have to get them literate, first of all, and there are


worrying reports. In Merthyr Tydfil, they are expecting a report to, it


with 40% illiteracy by the age of 11. That is not good, is it?


Yes, and there was an interested -- interesting piece of work in 2011


looking at a disadvantage areas, and they welcomed those schools


making that extra mile making sure children were exposed to trips to


art galleries, theatres, cinemas, making sure children are exposed to


the arts. Because if we can inspire young minds it gives us hope for


the future? Absolutely. If the arts is the thing that locks the key --


unlocked sticky, fantastic. That is it for this programme, I


will be back on Wednesday night investigating how a con man


claiming to help war veterans was able to get his hands on a large


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