The summer recess of Parliament provides a great opportunity to spend more time visiting local organisations and listening to local people. Over the past week, I have visited local businesses, charities and Treliske.
Yesterday, I was delighted to sit in on the monthly ‘team talk’ of RCHT staff and had the pleasure of handing out certificates to staff nominated for the NHS Parliamentary Awards. These are prestigious annual awards, judged by senior NHS clinicians as well as the head of NHS England, Simon Stevens. Linzi Lancaster and her team were SW regional winners and I was pleased to learn more about their important work while I was at Treliske. It is always a pleasure to recognise the brilliant staff in our local NHS.
It was good to hear the really positive feedback from staff following this week’s news of a major investment of just under £100 million pounds into new facilities at Treliske. This, I was told, was the largest single investment in the hospital since it was built. This new funding will enable the building of a new Women and Children’s hospital as well as creating a new entrance. It follows the good news in December of just under £35 million investment into Haematology, MRI and Oncology services. The building work for this investment needs to be completed before the work on the Women’s and Children’s hospital can start.
Yesterday, I visited the staff on the wards currently providing these services to learn more about the plans. While enormous effort is being made to deliver high quality, safe care in the current wards there is no doubt that the new facilities are much needed. As the population of Cornwall grows, and medicine and treatments evolve, more space is needed. There is also the opportunity for the specialist teams at RCHT to offer more services in the community, with new clinics in other health care settings across Cornwall as well as in people’s homes.
I also followed the pathway which patients take when coming into A&E. It was good to see at first hand how changes have been made to improve patients’ experience. Of course, there remain huge challenges, especially around partnership working with other parts of the health and care system in Cornwall. It was sad to see how the lack of mental health service professionals on the night shift, a service provided by CFT, had affected people’s experience of A&E as well as Trust’s staff. I very much hope that the 24 hour service is up and running again very soon. Mental health is just as important as physical health and we would not tolerate a lack of health care professionals to treat a person experiencing a stroke or heart attack.
I am looking forward to visiting some local GPs and Public Health staff at Cornwall Council. While funding for our NHS increases each year, we know there is more to do, especially with our community hospitals and adult social care and Cornwall’s MPs will continue to work together.
First published in the West Briton 08/08/19