HC Deb 09 June 2004 vol 422 cc258-9
3. Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley) (Lab)

What discussions he has had with the First Minister of the National Assembly for Wale; on the provision of local drug rehabilitation services in (a) the Cynon Valley and (b) Wales. [177356]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Don Touhig)

I regularly meet the National Assembly's Social Justice and Regeneration Minister and tackling substance misuse in the south Wales valley communities is a subject that we frequently discuss.

Ann Clwyd

I recognise the Government's record level of commitment to funding for this problem, but may I point out that in the Cynon Valley there is a long waiting list for rehabilitation facilities, and urge my hon. Friend to press upon the First Minister the importance of increasing rehabilitation facilities for those who are seeking treatment for that problem?

Mr. Touhig

Access to treatment is a priority, which is why £2.5 million of funding has been provided through community safety partnerships in Wales in order to target the availability of treatment services. I am aware that there have been a large number of applications for treatment in my hon. Friend's constituency. A number have been from women who are pregnant, so they cannot receive treatment at that time, which has created a backlog. As I say, I am aware of my hon. Friend's concern and I will bring it to the attention of my ministerial colleagues.

Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab)

It is good to see my hon. Friend the Minister in fine health, which just goes to show that the NHS in Wales is doing a very fine job at present. However, has he had an opportunity to visit the new mental health unit at the Royal Glamorgan hospital, which serves both the Cynon valley and the Rhondda, or the mental health unit at—

Mr. Speaker

Order. That is not relevant to the question.

Mr. Wayne David (Caerphilly) (Lab)

My hon. Friend the Minister will be well aware that the Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority has a poor record in supporting drug rehabilitation initiatives, in the Cynon valley and the locality generally. However, is he aware of the Kaleidoscope project in Newport? It is an innovative project, based on respect for individuals, and it ensures that treatment is given within one week, if possible.

Mr. Touhig

I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker, for saving me from the question from my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant). I can tell my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. David) that I am aware of the matter that he raises, and that the Rhondda Cynon Taf community safety partnership has received more than £600,000 for its substance misuse action plan. I am also aware of the Kaleidoscope project, which I visited with the Welsh Assembly's Minister for Social Justice and Regeneration. I was very impressed with the work of the project, which provides a service for a range of different people. The project is known nationally and internationally for its pioneering community-based drugs treatment programmes. I commend it to other areas for examination, as it is a pioneering project that is breaking barriers and pushing forward the agenda involved in tackling the problem of drug misuse.