Parliament is now sitting again following the festive Recess and I have been up in Westminster this past week working on your behalf to represent Mid-Cornwall.
Last week I was concerned to see reports in local media that indicated that Minor Injury Units across Cornwall were earmarked for closure, including those at St Austell, Newquay and Penrice.
This was shocking as nothing of the sort had been discussed during my regular meetings with senior Cornish NHS management.
On closer inspection it turns out that these reports have wildly misrepresented the facts and are actually pure speculation, spread by the local Labour Party as a way to further its own political agenda about the NHS.
It is perhaps not a coincidence that we have a by-election coming up for a Cornwall Council seat in Falmouth, and that the Labour Party have apparently manufactured a story about an NHS ‘crisis’ in order to have a go at the Government and get votes for themselves.
I agree with the NHS staff when they tell me that the rumours are deeply unhelpful and untrue and that they are concerned it will put people who genuinely need help from seeking medical treatment.
I contacted NHS Kernow’s Chief Officer, who was equally as concerned about this ‘fake news’ and issued a clear statement:
“At a time when our urgent care system is under such pressure, we would expect to be able to rely on our local stakeholders and media partners to support us in encouraging the public to use services, like minor injury units, as an alternative to the emergency department.
It is therefore really disappointing that Mr Levin has published a report that has so many factual inaccuracies and suggests to the public that their local minor injury unit is under threat of imminent closure. This is simply not true and this scaremongering could cause unnecessary confusion amongst the public at a time when we are encouraging people to use the right service.
We strongly refute Mr Levin’s claims that we are pursuing a policy to close Cornwall’s MIUs…’
I believe passionately that we need to retain our MIUs. I have already submitted my support for the vital work that our MIUs do, in the form of a reply to the Sustainability Transformation Plan (STP) consultation, and will vigorously fight to keep them should they ever come under a real threat of closure.