After writing in my column last week about all of the great news happening nationally for our NHS, its staff and patients, this week I am really pleased to have even more good news to report back on – this time surrounding Cornwall’s NHS and its radiotherapy services.
On Tuesday last week myself and the Cornish MPs met with NHS England during which it was confirmed radiotherapy services would not be moving from Cornwall.
Going back to the beginning of the year, you may remember NHS England’s consultation that many feared could have seen some radiotherapy services be moved from Cornwall.
There was great concern that the proposals could have resulted in services moved to Plymouth or even Exeter, and would have seen vulnerable and ill people in need of regular intensive treatment have to endure round trips lasting many hours for their radiotherapy, on a daily basis for several weeks. To me this was simply unacceptable and could have meant the difference between life and death for patients who would have had no choice but to take these long and uncomfortable journeys when at their most vulnerable.
Because of these issues, plus more, there was an unprecedented outcry across Cornwall. People responded by the thousand, as did all of the Cornish MPs, many Cornwall Councillors and the Cornish NHS services. All pointed out that the loss of any radiotherapy services would have been counterproductive and negative for Cornwall and the people who live here.
NHS England received so many responses, more than any consultation they have ever put out, and because of this, extended the time they had to analyse the results. In our meeting last week they told us that of the nearly 12,000 responses they had received nationally, 10,500 came from Devon and Cornwall, with the vast majority of these coming from Cornwall.
At last week’s meeting, NHS England assured us that there would be no lost of radiotherapy services from the Sunrise Centre in Truro. I was especially pleased to hear their recognition of the unique geographical challenges Cornwall has for patients and the immense hardship increasing travel time for these people would bring if the treatment centre was to be relocated out of the county and that these factors would be considered when deciding where to locate any new services.
This was a very positive meeting and I hope has provided the reassurance we all wanted for the future of our radiotherapy services. Our response to this consultation was an excellent example of Cornwall’s people coming together ‘one and all’ to fight for our services and I am pleased to have played my part in securing this outcome.
As always, my team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please contact me on either 01726 829379 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events