The first week of the year was spent meeting constituents to listen to a wide-range of their concerns and ideas as well as answering questions and tackling individual problems.
On Tuesday I was delighted to meet with representatives of Cornwall Council, Age UK Cornwall, the Cornwall Volunteer Centre and a GP in Newquay to listen to an update on their progress of implementing ‘Changing Lives’ pilots. The aim of this valuable work is to improve the support that elderly people, their carers and family receive from Cornwall Council and the NHS, support that aims to enable them to lead healthy and fulfilled lives at home. The pilots will be based in GP surgeries and trained volunteers will work alongside NHS and care professionals to make sure the elderly people they are supporting are getting the information and support available to them.
Putting the patient and their carers at the heart of Cornwall’s NHS and Adult Social Services is the priority with the aim of preventing people, as they get older, from unplanned admission to hospital. This ‘integration’ of these services is vitally important to the care of elderly people and in other parts of the country, where this is already being delivered, is beneficial. These are significant changes for GPs and NHS professionals and will take time to fully implement but I was inspired by the team that I met and will do all that I can to support them. The Government recognises that more money needs to be spent on supporting elderly people and their carers at home and extra funding has been given to Cornwall Council. In 2011-2012 £7.766 million has been given to Cornwall Council from NHS budgets.
I am also pleased to report that the NHS in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has been given £941.8 million for the year 2012-2013. This is £25.7 million more than 2011-2012. Just before Christmas an additional £1.8 million, found through national efficiency savings in the NHS, was also announced for the NHS in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Deciding on how the money is spent in Cornwall is led by the Primary Care Trust and the Strategic Health Authority. The management and staff of Treliske Hospital are making improvements in the quality of care of patients and also in the management of resources. However, I am concerned to hear about nursing levels on some wards. I have written to the Chief Executive of the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust asking him to ensure that Treliske Hospital is given the funds it needs to deliver high quality nursing.
I welcomed the Prime Minister’s support for nursing this week. Removing unnecessary administrative tasks from nurses is a good idea. Tackling poor performing ward management must also be a priority. He is right to challenge the management and boards of the NHS to make sure nursing meets the high standards in our hospitals and in the community that nurses want to deliver and we all rely upon. So we must make sure that there are enough nurses in Treliske, our community hospitals and out in the community to provide the care that they and we all want them to deliver.