Thank you to the many people who have responded to the NHS England consultation on a new model for radiotherapy services in England. Radiotherapy is a core part of modern cancer treatment. It can cure cancers, can assist in alleviating symptoms and is second only to surgery in its effectiveness. The development of the proposed service specification sits alongside NHS England’s £130 million investment in radiotherapy equipment which was announced last year.
The consultation ends on 24 January. You can email: email@example.com or write to: Radiotherapy Consultation, NHS England, Floor 3B, Skipton House, 80 London Road, London, SE1 6LH.
Sadly, some time ago my mum died of cancer. I know how important access to high quality cancer services are to families living in the Duchy. I remember the strain on my mum and dad, having to travel to Plymouth for some of her radiotherapy treatment. My father starts radiotherapy at Treliske soon so like every local family I want to see local cancer services move forward not backwards.
Like many families we helped raise the funds to build the Sunrise Rise Centre at Treliske. While NHS England’s proposals won’t affect the majority of cancer patients, they might affect approximately 300 patients with rarer forms of cancer as well as the professional development of our local oncologists and radiographers. So please if you haven’t already done so, consider responding to the NHS England consultation.
Last week along with my colleagues, at one of our regular meetings, I met with leaders of our local NHS services to discuss progress improving health and care outcomes for local people. I was pleased to learn that the recent transfer of the 111 non-emergency phone service, out of hours GP service and ambulance service to the control of our local GPs has gone well. I am also really pleased that GP appointments were available over the holiday period. It is good to see our local NHS clinicians lead and commission more of our local NHS and care services.
As you are aware our local health and care system is in “special measures” and is receiving extra support from NHS England to improve outcomes for local people. New senior managers are being funded in both Cornwall Council and the NHS to enable more effective joint working. The long awaited joined up commissioning of adult social care should start later this year.
Regular readers of this column will know of my work since being elected in 2010 to bring more mental health services into Cornwall. So, I was pleased to learn that the ground should be broken on the new Adolescent Residential Mental Health Unit at Bodmin in April. I worked very closely with our local NHS leaders to secure the majority of the funding for this new service. I am also pleased that funding has been secured to extend the number of beds for adults at Longreach. This will prevent local people having to leave the county to receive residential mental health services.
First published in the West Briton 18/01/18