I HOPE that everyone across Blaenau Gwent has had an enjoyable Christmas break and may I wish you all the best for 2018.

I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute and thanks to our public servants.

Whilst many of us spent the Christmas and New Year break at home, enjoying time with family and friends, our public servants continued working tirelessly to provide the vital services we rely upon to keep us safe.

I also want to thank the many organisations and volunteers across Blaenau Gwent who continue to work hard to support residents.

I was pleased to see the Welsh Government's finance secretary Mark Drakeford recently announce a £160 million boost for public services across Wales.

Local authorities will receive an additional £20 million in 2018-19 and £40 million in 2019-20 to support our local services.

We will also see an extra £50 million per year allocated to the Welsh NHS for 2018-19 and 2019-20. This will support the ongoing transformation of services, primary care and the Integrated Care Fund.

This additional funding will help to relieve some of the pressures our frontline public services are experiencing as a direct result of the UK Tory Government austerity measures.

We all know that winter is particularly busy for many of our NHS services.

I am urging residents across Blaenau Gwent to help the NHS and people with life-threatening conditions by choosing the right health service for their needs.

The Welsh Government’s Choose Well campaign encourages people to pick the right health service for their illness or injury.

This includes using the local pharmacy or Minor Injuries Unit in Ebbw Vale if you are worried about common health problems such as colds, upset stomachs or headaches.

It is worth visiting the choose well website and finding out more about the other options available.

This is particularly the case in winter when NHS services are most under pressure.

You can visit the Choose Well website to help you make the right decision about your treatment needs here: choosewellwales.org.uk/home

My next advice surgery is being held on Friday, January 12 from 3.00pm until 4.00pm at Llanhilleth Miners Institute.

No appointment necessary.

If you are unable to attend a surgery or have any Blaenau Gwent issues or concerns you wish to discuss, then please get in touch by email: Alun.Davies@assembly.wales, by phone: 01495 311160, by post: 23 Beaufort Street, Brynmawr, NP23 4AQ or via my Facebook page: facebook.com/AMAlunDavies