Dr Rhys Thomas has sacrificed his political ambitions in order to concentrate on his ground-breaking work in treating Covid patients. Dr Thomas, a former army medic with the rank of Lt.Colonel who served with distinction in several conflict zones, has been in the front line against Covid-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic.
A year ago, at the suggestion of Plaid leader Adam Price, he worked with Ammanford company CR Clarke & Co on developing a new type of CPAP ventilator specifically to treat Covid-19 patients. This device is now being used in hospitals in Wales and several other countries. Dr Thomas has also developed a ‘virtual ward’ strategy to enable patients to avoid going into hospital by using new software and his CPAP device at home.
“As one who believes passionately in Plaid Cymru’s vision for Wales, it’s been a very difficult decision,” said Dr Thomas. “But as a doctor in these incredibly challenging times, I’ve had to dedicate all my time and energy into developing a new way of combating Covid-19 – indeed, a whole new approach to patient treatment in general. Due to the continuing crisis, it would be impossible for me continue to stand as a candidate in the Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Constituency in this election. I hope my time to serve Wales as a politician will come again in future, but for now I have to serve my country as a clinician.”
As Dr Rhys Thomas steps down, Cefin Campbell, a highly-respected and experienced county councillor, has been selected to fight the constituency. He’s also number one on the Plaid Cymru candidate list for Mid and West Wales. Cefin lives in the Tywi Valley and is married to Mari, a recently retired district nursing sister, and they have three daughters.
As the Executive Board member for Communities and Rural Affairs on Carmarthenshire County Council, Cefin has played a prominent role in policy decisions as Chair of:
• A cross-party working group which developed a 55-point action plan to regenerate rural Carmarthenshire – the first of its kind in Wales
• The ‘Ten Towns Initiative’ to regenerate market town, including St Clears, Whitland and Laugharne
• The Tackling Poverty Advisory Panel to meet the social and economic after-effects of Covid, Brexit and impending austerity measures
• A steering group rolling out a multi-million pound plan for the regeneration of one of the most deprived council wards in Wales
• A cross-party group looking at ways of combating racism and discrimination
• The Safer Communities Partnership involving the police, fire and rescue, ambulance service, health board etc.
• A cross-party working group to develop Welsh-medium education and use of the language
• A working group which published an action plan supporting Carmarthenshire’s aim to be net zero carbon by 2030 – the first council in Wales to declare a climate emergency, under his leadership.
Cefin also recently successfully presented a notice of motion to Carmarthenshire County Council calling on Welsh Govt to introduce planning regulations to curb the growth of second homes which has led to spiralling house prices resulting in local people being priced out of the housing market.
Cefin Campbell said: “I care passionately about the future of rural areas, the environment, decent housing and jobs for our young people in towns and villages, and tackling the poverty which exists in both urban and rural communities,” said Cefin Campbell. “I’ve dedicated much of my life during recent years to leading on action plans to address these issues.
“If elected to the Senedd, I’ll be applying my extensive experience on town and country matters to fight for this corner of west Wales, which has been forgotten and neglected for too long by the Conservative UK Government in London and the Labour Welsh Government in Cardiff.
“Only Plaid Cymru puts the people of Wales first. We must fight our own corner for the sake of present and future generations.
Commenting on Cefin Campbell’s candidature, Dr Rhys Thomas said: “I’ve know Cefin for many years. He’s a very astute, enthusiastic, energetic and intelligent person, with an incredible range of knowledge in so many fields. He communicates with people in a respectful manner but with great authority. He’d make an excellent and formidable Member of the Senedd.”