David Melding AM has been leading calls for the development of a specialist centre for children with arthritis.
Mr Melding has been working closely with organisations such as Arthritis Care, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and the British Society for Rheumatology, who have been campaigning on this issue for several years.
There are an estimated 400 children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis in the South Wales region and unless it is properly treated and managed, this condition can cause significant life-long disabilities.
Mr Melding successfully brought forward a debate in the Assembly Chamber which called on the government to support calls for the development of a multidisciplinary paediatric rheumatology centre in Wales.
This would consist of a consultant paediatric rheumatologist, nurse specialists and a physiotherapist.
Despite its population of 3.1 million people, Wales is the only home nation without such a centre.
The motion passed with significant cross party support. The debate included supportive contributions from Conservative, Labour, Plaid and UKIP Assembly Members.
Mr Melding welcomed the passing of the motion and commended the contributions that were made in the debate. He said:
“I am so pleased that this extremely important motion has passed through the chamber. Wales is in desperate need of a multidisciplinary paediatric rheumatology centre; we have been left behind for too long”.
“When I was first approached by representatives of Arthritis Care, the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and the British Society for Rheumatology – who have all been doing fantastic work in raising the awareness of this issue – I was surprised that such services did not already exist”.
“The result of this debate has proved that this issue is above party politics and I am glad that my Assembly colleagues have recognised the necessity of such a service”.