Here's the latest Argus column by Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith:

NYE Bevan Day took place in Tredegar earlier this month, rounding off a week of celebrating our NHS hero.

It was an honour to speak at the event and also to welcome fellow MPs Keir Starmer, Jon Ashworth, Christina Rees and first minister Mark Drakeford to my hometown.

Nye once said that sickness often arises from “failure to take early action.”

The health challenges of 70 years ago are very different to the ones we face today, but these words are as true as ever.


For example, Cancer Research UK recently reported that obesity now causes more cases of common cancers than smoking.

The government can play a big part in tackling this issue by ensuring that children are given the healthiest possible start in life.

We need movement on issues such as restricting junk food advertising, on banning the sale of energy drinks to children and on mandatory calorie counting information in cafes, restaurants and takeaways – all of which have stalled since being proposed in the government’s plan to tackle childhood obesity.

I met with Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething recently to talk about promoting physical activity in Blaenau Gwent.

I had previously written to him to put forward a case for long-term, recurrent support to allow the kind of work that’s needed in Blaenau Gwent.

We talked about the need to increase investment in promoting and creating opportunities for physical activity and he has agreed to look into it.

Mr Gething will be visiting Blaenau Gwent in the autumn to see the good work that is being done here, not just for young people but for adults through groups such as the Cwm Sole Sisters and our two local parkruns.

Parkrun in particular is a fantastic asset that I am doing all I can to promote.

I attended the Parkrun Practice Pledge event in Newport recently, held to encourage GP practice staff to “prescribe” parkrun attendance for patients who would benefit.

I think this is a fantastic idea and we already have one surgery taking part – Glan Rhyd in Beaufort.

This week I have written to every other practice in the area to encourage them to sign up.

With everything else going on in politics at the moment it is easy to lose sight of important issues like health.

I will continue to do my bit to ensure it doesn’t fall off the agenda.