Over the recess, my husband and I spent a few days visiting our daughter, who is working in France. As my husband’s Partnership is almost half German and we worked in Italy for four years, we are often talking to European friends and colleagues about the future of the EU. As many local firms export to the EU, this is an important local issue too.
Readers will know that, since being elected, I am amongst those MPs pushing for major reform of the EU and am pleased that the Conservative party, if elected into government after the next election, will be offering a referendum on a new European settlement.
The Prime Ministers leadership has created a new coalition in the EU of the UK with Germany, Holland and Norway all committed to reform. It’s not just British citizens that are fed up with EU waste, corruption, failed fisheries policy, let alone rising budgets.
LibLab politicians said that David Cameron would isolate Britain from Europe. How wrong they were. Any cursory reading of European newspapers shows the debate David Cameron has kicked off is admired, even in France.
One great success we share with European countries is the dramatic increase in longevity over the last 50 years. While most people live longer and healthier lives, that is not the case for everyone.
The number of people affected by dementia has risen considerably and, in Cornwall alone, there was a 21% increase in the number of cases of people aged over 75 between 2000-10. During this time, funding for Cornwall’s NHS service fell 7% behind its target. Since becoming MP I am pleased to have helped reverse this trend with a 6% increase in total funding for our NHS in Cornwall.
Last week, the European Centre for Environment and Human Health and Cornwall Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board jointly hosted a two day conference including the challenge of dementia.
Angela Rippon highlighted the Prime Minister’s new Dementia Challenge Fund and the need for ‘dementia friendly communities’. These provide people suffering from dementia with a space to share their experiences, where the stigma is removed and in which the condition is understood. I am a patron of the Falmouth Memory Café, their work is a shining example. Businesses in Falmouth, led by Bob Bridges, are working together to make the town a truly dementia friendly community. NHS Kernow has received £552,000 from the fund.
While this is welcome, there is always more to do. Across the country Admiral Nurses, professionals trained in providing specialised dementia care, help to support families with care packages. Lisa Dann from the Cornwall branch of Dementia UK is working hard to raise £60,000 to bring Admiral Nurses to Cornwall for the first time.
By 2025 the number of local people with dementia will increase to 13,000. I will continue to do all I can to make sure that the funding gets through to local communities and that local services get the support that they need.