Cornish Theatre Company to Perform in Parliament

On Monday 9th December, please come and join me in welcoming the Az2B Theatre Company to the Houses of Parliament where they will stage their production of Grandma Remember Me.

Grandma Remember Me is a beautiful story about a special relationship between a Grandma and her Granddaughter. It explores the importance of memories and relationships within our lives and how to keep and treasure them. Drawing on the experiences of living with someone with dementia, Grandma Remember Me is a moving and entertaining story told through a mix of puppetry, drama and storytelling.

Although aimed primarily at children, who often find this condition confusing and even frightening in their elderly relatives, the play can also be used with medical students. Indeed, in my constituency the play is part of the training of doctors and nurses at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro helping learning about communicating the condition and its effect to those who are affected and their relatives.

This short play has already received support from across the political divide with endorsements from David Cameron MP, Ed Miliband MP and the Care Minister, Norman Lamb MP. It has also received excellent reviews as it has toured around the country and will soon be going international when it is performed to the Alzheimer’s Disease International conference in India.

With approximately 800,000 people across the country affected by dementia, this play is an excellent opportunities for MPs and peers to see how innovative ways such as this can help to raise awareness of dementia; increasing understanding, the importance of early diagnosis, de-stigmatisation and supporting living well with dementia.

I am delighted that this play will be staged for MPs and Peers just days before the UK hosts the first G8 summit specifically dedicated to tackling dementia at an international level. This builds on the personal leadership of the Prime Minister and his Challenge on Dementia. With current estimates suggesting that 35.6 million people across the globe are living with dementia and according to the World Health Organisation this will double every 20 years, all our lives will be effected. Meeting this challenge requires international collaboration and cooperation.

That is why I feel so strongly that we all need to play our part in understanding dementia, enabling earlier diagnosis as well as enabling people to live better with dementia, while research leads to more effective prevention and treatment.

I am extremely grateful to Az2B for performing Grandma Remember Me and for telling this story in such a moving, considerate, yet entertaining way. Please take a short break from your busy day and join me. Call my researcher Greg Munro on 0207 219 8210 or e-mail to book your place.

West Briton column 28 November 2013 – local health services

Having grown up in Cornwall and living here with my own family, makes me appreciate the need for high quality local health services all the more. Ensuring that local people have access to the best possible healthcare remains at the top of my priorities list.

Some good progress is being made. This week I was pleased to attend the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Sepsis and to accept the role of Co-Chair. The group, working with the Sepsis Trust UK, will encourage earlier detection and better treatment of this condition, which could save up to 10,000 lives every year. I have also been working with the Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust and local charity the Invictus Trust to secure better mental health support for young people in Cornwall; chairing a public meeting earlier this month to develop plans for a new Cornish young person’s support and care centre. An exciting opportunity to secure funding from the National Lottery to further enhance local services has now also arisen and I will be working with both Trust’s to ensure that this money is spent in Cornwall on improving the wellbeing of local young people.

At a national level I am encouraged by the Government’s decision last week to publish a package of measures designed to ensure that patients going into NHS hospitals can be confident that they will receive high quality care. The measures act on recommendations made in a report published by Sir Robert Francis, looking at how failings and unnecessary patient deaths were allowed to take place at an NHS hospital in Staffordshire.

At the heart of Sir Robert’s recommendations, and the measures now announced by the Health Secretary, is the need for patients to be compassionately cared for by a dedicated team of health professionals, not treated as an anonymous strain on hospital resources that needs to be moved on by the system. From next year every hospital patient will have the names of the responsible consultant and nurse above their bed, medical professionals dedicated to the patient and their welfare. The Healthcare assistants who do such valuable work in assisting with this care will now benefit from a new qualification, recognising and honing the skills they have and centering compassion at the heart of their role.

Members of the public will from April be able to see how their local hospital is doing in delivering high quality compassionate care. Every month the number of staff on each ward will be published online with guidance on whether these numbers breach safety guidance. NHS Managers have promised to recruit up to 4000 new nurses next year, the new online figures will allow us all to see how this pledge is being delivered locally. Similarly quarterly data on the complaints an individual hospital has received, and how those complaints were dealt with, will now be publicly available.

These changes aim to help local NHS staff to do what they do best – provide first class care to local people in need.

100 new nurses for Treslike

I am delighted by the news that over a hundred new nurses have been recruited to work at Trelsike this autumn, more will join over the next year.   

Thanks to Government measures following the Francis review the numbers of staff on each ward at Trelsike will be published every month online from April, along with guidance on whether these numbers breach safety guidance. I look forward to seeing further progress on boosting local staffing numbers:



Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group win prestigious award

I am delighted that the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group’s hard work on behalf of the people of Cornwall has been recognised with an award from the Health Service Journal. The Group has made real progress in delivering better care for local people and I will continue working with them to build on this.

West Briton column 21 November 2013 – Cornwall’s economy

This week has seen some more good news about the economy in Cornwall. Unemployment continues to fall and is now at its lowest level for three years, the Bank of England has upgraded its growth forecasts and inflation is coming down. With over three hundred fewer people being unemployed in Truro and Falmouth than this time last year we have turned a corner.

More needs to be done of course, but thanks to the creativity, determination and hard work of people running local enterprises as well as the people that support them, unemployment in Cornwall is below the national average.

Encouragingly as the economy recovers it also appears to be rebalancing. New figures published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills show that the South West now has the highest ratio of businesses to people in the UK outside London and the South East.

As the economy improves, it is important to me that no one is left behind and that people of all ages have the opportunity earn more money to improve the quality of their lives.

Skills are crucial to this. Government research has shown that if the proportion of UK adults with no skills or skills below GCSE level could be reduced from the current level of 30% to 10% by 2020 1.5 million households could be lifted out of poverty.

The Government has given the power to deliver this to local businesses, whose productivity and growth is dependent on the skills of their employees. Business-led, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP is drawing on taxpayer funding embodied in the money the Duchy gets from EU investment to provide new training and skills opportunities, including a ‘Skills Support for the Workforce’ programme that will help 4,500 Cornish workers acquire new skills.

It is also supporting the Cornwall Works service, which brings together all the support providers that can help people make progress in their job, or move to a new career. More information can be obtained by calling 01872 355 015.

I understand many people long to start and grow their own business, and the Government is trying to make this easier than ever before. People can now explore all the support and guidance available to them through a new online hub Information on the extra business support available to Cornish businesses be found through

It is always a privilege to meet with the entrepreneurs in our community who are producing innovative products and services while creating good jobs, with a living wage, contributing to the common good of our community. To me last weeks 2013 Ignite Award winner sums up the spirit of Cornwall now. A family farm dedicated to producing quality products but facing increasing competition and declining income, trusted the innovation of the younger members of the family who have created the delicious Cornish Gouda cheese, ensuring a bright future for generations to come.

Great news today about the growth of Start Up Loans to new businesses – visit for more information.  

 This is part of wider progressthat  is being made in helping all small businesses to achieve their ambitions. Business people can now explore all the support and guidance available to them through a new online hub and have access to more Government help than ever before. Young entrepreneurs are being supported through a Start-up Loans scheme, which offers seed capital of up to £2,500 for new businesses started by 18-30 year olds. The best is yet to come – in April every business in the UK will be entitled to a £2000 Employment Allowance, meaning that 450,000 small businesses will not have to pay any National Insurance contributions.

I am proud to support these efforts, and the small business campaign –