Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Newspaper column 7 October 2020 - Health and COVID-19 update


We continue to see the number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus increase, locally and nationally. The number of cases in Cornwall continues to follow the national trend of cases rising. However, much of the increase in cases across Cornwall can be identified as due to a small number of clusters centred around very specific businesses.

It is important that everything possible is done to ensure Public Health England is able to identify these outbreaks and all necessary steps taken to isolate those with the virus. I am confident this is happening.

We continue to learn more about how this virus is spread and how we can control it. It is clear that certain businesses, particularly those in the food processing industry, appear to have higher risks of outbreaks. We have seen this elsewhere in the country and this is now the case here in Cornwall.

Whilst we have seen an increase in cases, Cornwall continues to be one of the least affected parts of the country. The level of cases here is well below that of most other areas and we are still some way off facing the additional local restrictions that other areas have had put in place. 

Whilst we all need to continue to play our part in behaving responsibly to keep ourselves and others safe. We need to get back on top of this second wave so that we can avoid Cornwall having to have additional restrictions.

The government continues to work to enable us all to return to life as normal. Every effort continues to be made to produce an effective vaccine and for widely available fast testing to be in place. Either of these would enable restrictions to be eased.

We are very much aware that we are all now on the countdown to Christmas. It is hoped we will be in a position to ease restrictions by Christmas to enable families to be able to enjoy the festivities together in as normal way as possible. We understand how important this will be at the end of what has been a challenging and traumatic year for us all and one way or another we will do everything possible to achieve this.

Along side our continued fight against the virus, it was good to see last week the government confirm further investment in the NHS. It was great to see the list of the 40 new hospitals that will be built across the country – with funding secured. This was a key commitment we made at the last election and it was pleasing to see this promise being delivered just a few months later.

A new Women and Children’s unit at Treliske, that will include a new, modern maternity facility. This is something that was planned previously but the government has been able to bring this forward and enable it to be built well ahead of schedule.

This £100million investment is in addition to the £450million that has been committed to upgrade hospital facilities across Cornwall. The new Women and Children’s unit will be the first of what will be a number of very significant new and upgraded health facilities in the coming years.

Along with the other Cornish MPs I am working with NHS leaders in Cornwall to ensure this large pot of money is spent in the best way possible that will provide major improves for people across Cornwall.

Like many people I believe at least part of this funding should be used to provide hospital facilities in Mid-Cornwall that will take pressure off of Treliske. I also want to see improvements to our local community hospitals so that more health services are able to be provided locally to save patients having to travel to Truro.

All of this should be achievable, and I will continue to do all I can to shape the plans that come forward to get the very best outcome for our constituency and Cornwall generally.

Finally, with the new restrictions that have been put in place recently, I have taken the decision to suspend face to face surgeries for the immediate future. However, I am still always happy to talk to any constituents who would like my help or to raise any concerns with me. We can do this on the telephone or by video link. Please get in touch with my office if you would like to arrange a time for a call – tel. 01726 829379. Email –