Matt Hancock visits Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock has today (Monday 24 May 2021) taken a whistle-stop tour of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Mr Hancock visited the Isles of Scilly to be briefed on an ambitious project to create a single health and care campus with a co-located workforce.

The campus would include GPs, a pharmacy and dentist as well as minor injury, urgent care, mental health, adult social are and voluntary sector services. The campus would also incorporate bedded care to replace those currently provided by the hospital and Park House.

He also took the opportunity to thank the team who had delivered the local COVID-19 vaccination programme who have delivered a fantastic rate of delivery despite the location and logistics of the islands. He also met the local health and care team including a new baby delivered just the night before!

Matt Hancock with staff from St Austell Healthcare

Councillor Robert Francis, chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly, commented: “The council recognises the need for high quality on-island social care and residential care and it is one of our top priorities. The opportunity to be at the forefront of the integration of health and social care is something we welcome. Not only does it make best use of the skills and resources we have available, but by collaborating with our health partners we can increase resilience and help to safeguard the continued provision of services for islanders for years to come. We are extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to personally brief the Secretary of State on the ambitious work we have carried out so far and plans for future integration.”

“Securing the best possible model of care for the integration of health and social care is a priority not just for Scilly but for all parts of the UK. The Health Secretary’s visit to Scilly allows us to show how this model can work and why it is imperative for Scilly both to enhance the care given and retain and support their excellent health and care team. I know the Health Secretary is keen to find a way to support this integration and I will continue to press hard for the investment that will enable this transformation”, added Derek Thomas, MP for St Ives, west Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

On returning to the mainland, Mr Hancock took the opportunity to meet clinicians and managers from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT) where he heard about the recent and ongoing investment into the hospital’s infrastructure including plans for women and children’s building programme which includes maternity, neonatal and paediatrics.

Royal Cornwall Hospital is part of the Government’s hospital infrastructure plan (HIP). Last year, the Prime Minister announced the details of the 40 new hospitals which will be built by 2030, backed by an initial £3.7 billion as part of the biggest hospital building programme in a generation.

RCHT chief executive, Kate Shields, said “It’s an exciting period for our hospitals and local health and care services. We have our biggest ever investment in buildings and infrastructure happening over the next few years and our plans to work ever closer as an integrated care system give us a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop services that are truly working together for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

Mr Hancock was shown the site where construction of new inpatient, outpatient and diagnostic facilities – which will form part of the new MRI and oncology unit – is underway as well as the modular built, progressive recovery unit. Both schemes will release space for future development.

While in Truro, he took time to look around some of the existing areas that will be replaced by the new buildings and to stop and chat to hospital staff.

Mr Hancock rounded off his visit at the St Austell Healthcare GP practice where he was able to talk to clinicians about their experiences of integrated care and their involvement in the vaccination programme. The St Austell primary care network has delivered 27,541 vaccinations out of the total 551,758 doses delivered since December 2020.

Matt Hancock with MP Steve Double and Dr James McClure, from St Austell Healthcare

James McClure, GP partner at St Austell Healthcare, said: “We have made great strides in our commitment towards integrated care including taking the lead in social prescribing which has been adopted by many of our colleagues in primary care across the county and employing a lead integration nurse as well as 3 integration emergency care practitioners/nurses, which have transformed interaction with the community. We are also very proud of the part that we have played in the roll-out of the vaccination programme and helping to protect our most vulnerable and get everyone back on the path of normality.”

Mr Hancock later shared plans for transforming care models in health and social care with the county’s health and care leaders.

John Govett, independent chair of the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Health and Care Partnership, said: “It was a really excellent meeting with the health secretary and all the health and care partners across the system. Mr Hancock recognised that Cornwall is really progressive when it comes to the development of integration across health and care and the new legislation allows us to take it to the next stage as an emerging integrated care system.”

Photo credits: Anita Macmillan

Added on 24 May 2021, in News - General news