Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Newspaper column 18 October 2017 - New incentives for GPs in rural areas

Last week was a busy week in Parliament for me. A particular highlight was the Tourism and Hospitality Day on Tuesday where, in my role as Chair of the Visitor Economy All Party Parliamentary Group, I was able to meet with a number of leaders in the tourism sector from across the South West, and discuss a number of key issues and explore opportunities to ensure this vital part of our economy is well represented in Parliament.

I also ventured over to Truro on Friday for a busy day at County Hall attending our regular meetings with NHS leaders, Cornwall Council leaders on the devolution agenda, as well as other organisations including the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce.

On Thursday I was really pleased to see the announcement from Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, that from 2018, G.P. surgeries in hard-to-recruit areas will benefit from a new government-backed scheme – the Targeted Enhanced Recruitment Scheme – which will offer a one-off payment of £20,000 to attract newly qualified G.Ps to work in areas of the country where training places have been unfilled for a number of years.
The Department of Health has also asked Health Education England (HEE) to make sure many of the 1,500 additional medical training places that will be funded from next year are located in priority areas, including rural and coastal communities. The Secretary of State specifically mentioned Cornwall in his announcement and so I am pleased that the Health Secretary has listened to the calls from myself and my Cornish MP colleagues to address the challenges we face in the NHS in Cornwall and the Government has acted accordingly.
This should relieve some of the pressures on our hard-working G.P’s and I look forward to seeing the fund put in place. On a wider scale, Cornwall’s NHS has been in the news recently because of the recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports on the NHS Cornwall Clinical Commissioning Group and Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske.

The NHS staff on the ground are dedicated and do their best for the patients in their care. There are many good practises highlighted in the report such as the care and compassion shown to patients. What this report shows is that this is clearly a failure of the management and systems at the hospital.
Now that these issues have been recognised and the hospital placed in special measures the Government will provide support and additional resources will be made available to address the underlying causes.
A significant failing is the delayed discharges and subsequent impact on Treliske Hospital. There is a lack of integration between the hospital and Cornwall Council’s adult care services. The Government made additional funding available to address this back in March and it is frustrating that so little progress has been made. In my meeting with the NHS and Cornwall Council on Friday we discussed the need for them to step up and deliver positive change for these services.
I know that local people will be very concerned about this situation and I will be doing all I can to work with the local health services, NHS England and the Government to ensure things improve as soon as possible and that the people of Cornwall get the quality of health services they deserve.