It’s often said that A&E is a barometer of the health of our NHS. Despite the fact that since 2010 A&E at Treliske has been upgraded, across the country there are 1,500 more doctors in A&E departments and 600 more consultants, with more people being treated safely and well, there remain problems to be solved.
Across the NHS, we have more than 11,000 additional doctors and 11,000 more nurses, so the pressure on the NHS is recognised. Indeed, we have 1,600 more doctors than this time last year.
Over the decade to 2015, we saw a 31% increase in the number of people living to 85 and older. This is a cause for celebration, but there has not been a matching increase in disease-free life expectancy. We know that when people of that age go to A&E at this time of year, there is an 80% chance that they will be admitted to hospital.
There is no doubt at all that we will need to look after 1 million more over-65s in five years’ time and will need to continue to increase investment in the NHS and social care system.
The truth is that, to solve this problem, we need to increase the number of people working in general practice, which is why we are funding the second biggest increase in the number of GPs in the NHS’s history. Cornwall Council and our local NHS leadership need to get on with joining up the care they provide while enabling investment in more, better paid carers. More support for family carers too.
Next year the NHS will be 70 years old. I will continue to everything I can to support NHS staff and carers to deliver the safest, highest quality care anywhere in the world.