There is much good news to share this week. Our local NHS has been allocated up to £450 million to build a new hospital or to upgrade existing hospitals, or a combination of both. This money is in addition to the £135 million committed to upgrading some wards at Treliske and building a new women’s and children’s hospital there too.
It is for our local NHS Health and Care service leaders, working with the local community, to work together and decide how best to use this funding, to deliver safe and excellent services for local people. I will be asking them to carefully consider how we can use some of this funding to upgrade Falmouth hospital. I think it is vitally important that frail elderly people or those with chronic health conditions that need regularly treatment, receive care as close to their home and family and friends as possible.
The PM has also confirmed that after we leave the EU, the funding that Cornwall currently receives via a number of EU funding streams will be replaced ‘like for like’ with the Shared Prosperity Fund. Following the result of the EU Referendum I was determined to ensure that Cornwall would continue to receive the same level of funding as if we had stayed. This designated funding for Cornwall will be £400 to £600 million over seven to ten years. Decisions about how it will be spent will be made in the Duchy. Cornwall will also be able to access all the other public funding steams. This is exactly what I have pressing the government for.
There has been good progress made in developing our local economy with more high-quality education opportunities, better paid full time jobs in sustainable businesses. We need to keep up the momentum that has been created and continue with investment into our infrastructure so that the talents and ambitions of people in Cornwall are unleashed. So we can become one of the most prosperous regions not the least, growing our economy sustainably and inclusively.
While we can all point to local infrastructure such as the Eastern Breakwater in the harbour or to the local railway between Falmouth Docks and Truro, some of the EU investment is not so well known. I am determined that there is much more transparency and accountability in the design and implementation of the Shared Prosperity Fund than the legacy funding.
While Falmouth University has benefitted significantly from EU funding, I would like to see a partnership with Exeter Medical School that enables more medical research to happen here. This will benefit local people and make it easier to attract and retain doctors and other health related professionals in the Duchy. With new NHS funding for hospital facilities and the Shared Prosperity Fund confirmed, investment is available to enable this to happen.
While buildings are important, ensuring we have well trained and well-paid staff is just as vital, so I am pleased that the day to day funding our local NHS receives is growing each year. Back in 2010 we did not receive our fair share but now our local NHS receives just over the England average per person funding.
I have always believed that prevention is better than the cure, so I am delighted with the recent announcements setting out significant ambition and investment to protect and enhance our precious natural environment, leaving it in better condition for the next generation. What’s good for the environment is good for our health and wellbeing. While I very much support Cornwall Council’s Forest for Cornwall, it’s not enough. I don’t want you to have to get into a car to experience woodland. I am pleased that the Government has announced the extension of pocket parks funding. Existing parks that need new play equipment and landscaping such as the Beacon could benefit. Other small pockets of land that could be turned onto a natural space can too. I have written to our local town and parish councils to apply for this funding. Please let me know if I can help you and your community turn a scrap of neglected land into a natural oasis.
First published in the Falmouth Packet 02/10/19