Catching up on developments with key local priorities has been the theme of my work since the General Election. Supporting staff as they work hard in making improvements at The Royal Cornwall Hospital remains a top concern.
In the Five Year Forward View, the head of NHS England has produced a plan for continued improvement, including the recruitment of more staff, providing more training opportunities for existing staff and making it easier for those who have taken a career break to return to the NHS. The government has committed to funding the NHS’s plan, providing at least an extra £2 billion each year. I am keen to see our local NHS partners and Cornwall Council publish a five year plan for improvements in Cornwall.
Cornwall Council has a significant role to play as it has the responsibility to promote the wellbeing of us all, it is the home of the Health & Wellbeing Board, Public Health and it has the responsibility to ensure a sufficiency of quality care providers.
During the recent, local general election debates virtually all candidates agreed with the need to join up NHS services and care services around patients and their families. The Better Care Fund, a mixture of new and existing funding, some of which is transferred from the health service to a new budget controlled by the local authority, is designed to reduce emergency admissions to hospital and protect social care through integrating local provision of services. Cornwall has a £12.8 million BCF for 2014/15 and £42.47 million in 2015/16. This gives greater local control and enables the possibility of radical changes to improve wellbeing. As Cornwall Council and NHS partners develop their plans to spend this money, I want to make sure that the improved health and wellbeing experiences of local people who have been involved with the Penwith Pioneer are shared across the Duchy. This groundbreaking work, supported by the previous government, is led by Volunteer Cornwall and Age UK Cornwall. I am pleased that the new minister will be visiting Cornwall to sustain the momentum for change and improvement here.