Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Newspaper column - St Austell edition, 5 August 2015 - improving healthcare in St Austell

I was delighted to attend the opening of the Carlyon Road Health Hub in St Austell last week.  The re-opening of the old Polkyth Surgery under a new banner, with a new function, represents a key step forward for healthcare in St Austell.

Since the financial failure of the Polkyth practice, residents have been all too aware of the impact of reduced facilities in St Austell.  Many of you have contacted me asking me to help with these issues.

GPs and staff at the Hub are to be congratulated on the speed that they have re-opened the facility.  This is a testament to their hard work and dedication.   The surgery has undergone a face-lift and now boasts state of the art medical equipment.  We should be proud that St Austell has seen an innovative solution rise from the remnants of one of the biggest GP practice failures in the country.

The Hub forms part of the St Austell Healthcare Consortium, which was set up during the course of 2014 following the merger of four existing practices into one.  Bringing the number of sites to five, the Hub is designed to deal with acute care – patients needing same-day care.  This supports the other four surgeries in the consortium, which provide the more traditional appointment based GP service.   These four practices should also see a lessening in appointment pressure.

The five sites offer an exciting opportunity for GPs to specialize in areas of interest and I look forward to healthcare in the area improving in the coming months and years.

The consortium operates under one system and telephone number and as with any new process there have been teething problems.  The team has assured me that sufficient GPs have been recruited and that the consortium will be locum-free by September.  The innovative nature of the solution has meant that the consortium has been able to recruit high-quality young doctors and this bodes well for the future as well.

The opening of the Hub represents a step forward, but it is not the end of the journey.  As more and more new houses are built we run the risk that pressure on GPs builds again. There will always be a challenge in trying to keep ahead of the curve in this area and this is a concern local residents often raise with me.

I recently met with Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group, who oversee the provision of primary health provision in Cornwall, including GP services. I made the case for another GP surgery in St Austell in light of the growing demand. I will continue to press for more GPs in the area and work with local health service providers to do all I can to ensure we keep pace with demand.

My team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and seek to make a real difference to the lives of everyone who needs help and support in any way.
If there is any issue that we can help you with then please contact us on either 07555069714 or on