Outside the comfort zone – getting involved in politics as an RPS member

by Elin Gwyn MRPharmS, Palliative Care Pharmacist, Betsi Cadwalladr Health Board

The latest meeting of the Welsh Assembly’s Cross Party Group on Hospice and Palliative Care was recently held at on Friday 23rd November. Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales asked me to attend the meeting on its behalf. With RPS having just recently launched its policy on palliative and end of life care, its engagement and membership of this group is very timely.

The purpose of cross party groups is to bring together groups and organizations with expertise in a particular policy area with Assembly members who are interested in the same area. The cross party groups don’t have power, but they are used to raise Assembly members’ awareness of issues related to the field so that they can scrutinise and challenge the government and the NHS more effectively.

Before attending the meeting I had no political experience. I have been a palliative care pharmacist in Gwynedd and Anglesey for eight years. At the meetings that I usually attend everyone is either working for the NHS or at the local hospices, so the prospect of going to meet with Assembly members made me quite nervous! I was very grateful of the background documents I received from RPS Wales to read in advance which helped eased the nerves and to make sure I was fully prepared.

The National Assembly for Wales
The National Assembly for Wales

On the day I received a warm welcome at the meeting and the informal atmosphere helped to ease my fears. At the meeting there was an interesting presentation by Mary Wimbury, Care Forum for Wales, on the challenges of palliative care in care homes. She noted that the main challenges of care homes are access to services, including medicines. This was followed by a discussion where there was consensus that care homes should be treated as the home of the patient and that the fact that they are in a care home should not reduce their access to any service. I shared my experience of palliative care services in care homes in Gwynedd and Anglesey and the end of the debate it was agreed that it would be valuable to map the different services offered across the country as there is so much variation between areas.

Unknown to me, my knowledge of local palliative care services and processes through my everyday job proved to be useful to the meeting. I am pleased to have attended the meeting and to have pushed myself from my comfort zone. Thank you to RPS for the opportunity.

Cynhaliwyd cyfarfod diweddaraf Grŵp Trawsbleidiol ar Hosbisau a Gofal Lliniarol Llywodraeth Cymru yn Hosbis Tŷ Eos, Wrecsam, ddydd Gwener 23ain Tachwedd.  Gofynnodd Cymdeithas Fferyllol Frenhinol Cymru i mi fynychu’r cyfarfod ar ei rhan. Gyda Cymdeithas Fferyllol Frenhinol Cymru newydd lawnsio ei pholisi Gofal Lliniarol a Diwedd Oes mae cynrychiolaeth y gymdeithas ar y grŵp yn amserol iawn.

Pwrpas grwpiau trawsbleidiol yw dod â grwpiau a chyrff sydd â diddordeb mewn maes arbennig at ei gilydd gydag aelodau’r Cynulliad sydd â diddordeb yn yr un maes. Nid oes gan y grwpiau trawsbleidiol bŵer, maent yn cael eu defnyddio i godi ymwybyddiaeth aelodau’r Cynulliad ar faterion yn ymwneud â’r maes fel y gallant hwy ymchwilio a herio’r llywodraeth a’r GIG yn fwy effeithiol.

Cyn mynychu’r cyfarfod nid oedd gennyf unrhyw brofiad mewn gwleidyddiaeth. Rwyf yn fferyllydd gofal lliniarol yng Ngwynedd a Môn ers wyth mlynedd. Ym mhob cyfarfod y byddaf yn ei fynychu fel arfer mae pawb unai yn gweithio i’r GIG neu i’r hosbisau lleol, felly roedd meddwl am fynd i gyfarfod gydag aeldoau o’r Cynulliad yn bresennol yn fy ngwneud  reit nerfus! Roeddwn yn falch iawn o’r dogfennau cefndirol a dderbyniais gan Gymdeithas Fferyllol Frenhinol Cymru i’w darllen ymlaen llaw ac roedd medru paratoi yn helpu’r hyder.

Ar y dydd cefais groeso garw yn y cyfarfod ac roedd yr awyrgylch anffurfiol wedi tawelu’r ofnau yn syth. Yn y cyfarfod cafwyd cyflwyniad diddorol gan Mary Wimbury, Fforwm Gofal Cymru, ar heriau gofal lliniarol mewn cartrefi gofal. Nododd mai prif heriau cartrefi gofal yw cael gafael ar wasanaethau, gan gynnwys meddyginiaethau. Cafwyd trafodaeth i ddilyn a bwysleisiodd y dylid trin cartrefi gofal fel cartref y clâf ei hun ac na ddylai’r ffaith eu bod mewn cartref gofal eu hatal rhag unrhyw wasanaeth. Rhannais fy mhrofiad o wasanaethau gofal lliniarol mewn cartrefi gofal yng Ngwynedd a Môn a chytunwyd ar ddiwedd y drafodaeth buasai’n werthfawr mapio’r gwahanol wasanaethau a gynigir ar draws y wlad gan fod cymaint o amrywiaeth rhwng ardaloedd.

Yn ddiarwybod i mi roedd fy ngwybodaeth o wasanaethau a phrosesau gofal lliniarol lleol drwy fy swydd bob dydd yn ddefnyddiol i’r cyfarfod. Rwy’n falch fy mod wedi mynychu’r cyfarfod a gwthio fy hun o’r ‘comfort zone’a diolch i Gymdeithas Fferyllol Frenhinol Cymru am y cyfle.

 

Elin Gwyn is part of the RPS Wales Palliative Care Policy Steering Group. Our new Palliative and End of Life Care policy for Wales was launched at the end of November, and we’ll be campaigning for Welsh Government to implement the recommendations throughout 2019. We’re always looking for more RPS members to use your experiences to help us influence change for the better. Find out more about representing the RPS in our work with government by emailing Wales@rpharms.com

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