Welsh Government introduces post of minister for mental health and wellbeing

The Welsh Government has appointed a Cabinet minister to take responsibility for mental health and wellbeing through the coronavirus pandemic.

Eluned Morgan (pictured) will assume ministerial responsibility for mental health services, dementia, autism, substance misuse, veterans’ health, patient experience and the obesity strategy in Wales.

She will be working alongside Health Minister Vaughan Gething, who will focus solely on Covid-19 and NHS performance and delivery.

Ms Morgan’s former brief of international relations will form part of First Minister Mark Drakeford’s portfolio of responsibilities.

“We have learned a lot from the first wave of coronavirus and the way both we and public services have responded to the virus,” Mr Drakeford said.

“Once again, we are facing rising cases across the country and a difficult few months ahead.

“Vaughan has done an amazing job leading our health service’s response to the pandemic and will continue to take day-to-day charge of that response.

“The changes I am making to my Cabinet team will mean he can focus all his time and effort on coronavirus and ensuring our NHS is able to treat people with the virus as well as respond to the population’s wider health needs.

“Eluned has a strong track record in government and will bring all that experience to safeguarding and promoting the wider wellbeing of people in Wales.”

Julie Morgan will continue in her role as deputy minister for health and social services.

On Thursday, Public Health Wales said there had been a further 638 cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 28,262.

One further death was reported, with the total number since the beginning of the pandemic rising to 1,644.

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said the suspension of some services at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital was continuing following a Covid-19 outbreak.

This includes the suspension of elective surgery, emergency adult admissions being diverted to other hospitals and adult Welsh Ambulance Service patients being taken to other hospitals.

The health board said the number of Covid-19 cases linked to the outbreak at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital had reached 129 and there had been 24 deaths.

In the Prince Charles Hospital, 17 cases of Covid-19 and one death have been linked to an outbreak.

A total of 16 cases of coronavirus have been linked to an outbreak at the Princess of Wales Hospital, along with one death.

Dr Nick Lyons, medical director for the health board, said: “We are taking the outbreaks extremely seriously and the stringent and robust mitigating actions which have been taken across our sites are being closely observed.

“However given the nature of Coronavirus, there is an inevitable time delay in when we will see the positive impact of these measures.”

He apologised for any concern caused to families and hospital communities.

On Thursday, the Welsh Government announced that people arriving in Wales from seven Greek islands from 4am on Saturday would no longer need to self-isolate for 14 days.

The islands are Paros and Antiparos, Lesvos, Santorini, Milos (including the island of Serifos), Tinos and Zakynthos.

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