Health and Social Care Sustainable Transformation Planning

A number of constituents have contacted me regarding the current NHS Sustainable Transformation Planning process.

As you know the NHS is under considerable pressure. There are many reasons for this. We are living longer and living often with complex health problems. The NHS is a fantastic British institution and our medical professionals are able to treat an increasing range of illnesses and conditions which also adds to the demand. Millions more appointments are provided by the NHS now than even ten years ago and the costs of maintaining the NHS is increasingly expensive.

Furthermore, managers and local authorities have struggled to achieve meaningful integration of health and social care resulting in unnecessary hospital admissions, prolonged stays in hospital, duplication and financial waste. Also, in an attempt to improve patient care, it is fair to say that successive Governments have introduced reforms which have led to challenges for medical professionals that could have been avoided. We all care about the NHS and most agree that healthcare should be provided as close to home as possible. The Sustainable Transformation Planning is the best way of ensuring patients get the best outcome.

With these things in mind we must accept that things need to change. The NHS cannot carry on as it is today. It cannot deliver what we all believe it should unless we address the issues that have frustrated doctors and healthcare professionals for so long.

To do this the NHS has outlined an approach to ensure that health and care services are built around the needs of local populations. Every health and care system in England (for us here in West Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly the Kernow Clinical Commission Group with NHS providers and Cornwall Council) will produce a Sustainability and Transformation Plan, showing how local services will become sustainable over the next five years – delivering the vision of better health, better patient care and improved NHS efficiency.

I believe this provides the best opportunity to integrate health and social care, reduce the pressure on acute services and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

To this end I have been active in this area as follows:

  • Campaigning for a greater role and secure funding for community pharmacists as they are well placed to help people to manage a health condition and can reduce the pressure on GPs
  • Working with Cornwall Council and NHS leaders to integrate health and social care
  • Working with health campaigners and local GPs to develop the case for adequate community beds and to reopen Edward Hain Hospital as soon as possible
  • Working with care and support providers to try and address difficulties that exist with Cornwall Council’s commissioning processes and with recruiting and retaining good staff
  • Regularly discussing the challenges in Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly with Government Ministers and NHS England Officers
  • Working with my fellow Cornish MPs to ensure we apply the correct pressure on managers (here and in London) and raise particular concerns with them
  • Supporting Cornwall Hospice Care and campaigning for a better funding arrangement for the charity

Right now health managers and GPs in Cornwall, with input from patients groups and health campaigners such as West Cornwall HealthWatch, are preparing the draft Sustainable Transformation Plan (STP).

In the near future everyone will be informed regarding what the vision is for health and social care in Cornwall and on Scilly.

Next year there will be a period of public consultation so that everyone can understand what is being proposed and can contribute to the discussion. Once we have an approved STP we can apply for extra cash from a pot of £8 billion to help with the transformation process.

Personally I am arguing for the establishment of Health and Social Care Hubs (to include community beds). It would be great if we could achieve a situation where everything you need regarding health is provided locally, through community pharmacy, GP practices, the Health and Social Care Hub/community hospitals and nursing homes. It would mean you would only have to go to an urgent care hospital in extreme circumstances. This is the kind of health care we need and the Sustainable Transformation Plan is the best tool available to deliver it. However, a great deal of work is needed and considerable challenges lie ahead, not least because of significant pressures on finances in Cornwall’s healthcare system.

Please be assured that I will keep you informed as new information becomes available.

Derek Thomas

Member of Parliament for St Ives

MP’s Column

On Saturday I had the great privilege of welcoming the Lifton Bikers to Land’s End as they completed their charity bike ride from John o’ Groats. These cyclists were raising money for research into Motor Neurone Disease and had raised over £25,000 by the time they arrived at Land’s End. I met their colleague Jeremy Durrell, who has MND and is now completely paralysed with this cruel disease, and the Cornwall Motor Neurone Disease Committee who all had stories of their own about loved ones stricken by the disease.

You can find out more at http://www.mndcornwall.org.uk/.

Last week saw the start of my annual drop-in surgeries which continue across West Cornwall until the end of November. These informal drop-in surgeries took place at Sennen Farmers’ Market, Cafe Art in St Ives, the Queens Arms in Breage, Lion and Lamb in Ashton and my Constituency Office. This is your opportunity to raise any issue or concern without making a specific appointment. A full list is available at derekthomas.org, however, traditional surgery appointments continue as usual and can be booked with the constituency office for anyone who prefers this.

The first ever ‘Great Western Dog Walk’ gets underway at 11am from Marazion on Saturday (1st Oct). This dog walk is an opportunity to raise funds for Cornwall Hospice Care, show our appreciation to the staff and volunteers and take a walk on the beach with others who have experience of the incredible work Cornwall Hospice Care does. Everyone is welcome to take part in the walk which ends on Penzance Prom where there will be a Farmers’ Market, a story-teller telling ‘Doggy Tales’ and the chance for younger dog-walkers to decorate their own doggy cookies.Entry to the Great Western Dog Walk is just £3 per person or £6 for a family. Register online at www.cornwallhospicecare.co.uk

There is free car parking available at Marazion (car parks adjacent to the Godolphin Arms) and return travel will be available for those who need a lift back to Marazion.

You can also register on the day from 9am at the Godolphin Arms. I hope to see you on Saturday!

Derek Thomas

Member of Parliament for St Ives

MP’s Column

Children from Godolphin, Garras and Sithney primary schools visited Chyvarloe Farm at Gunwalloe to find out more about the important contribution local farms make to food production. It was a grand day out with tractors ploughing, potato and combine harvesters in action, a woodland I-Spy trail set up by the National Trust, Cornish pasty-making demonstrations by Ann Muller from Ann’s Pasties and free milkshakes made with milk from the Treleague Dairy in Ruan Minor.

The opportunity of a day out on a working farm is a real treat for our schoolchildren. Learning that the ingredients to make a Cornish pasty can be all sourced locally and how milk is produced and bottled in this ‘hands-on’ way is a fantastic way to promote our countryside and teach about the value of our farming industry. I particularly enjoyed the visit as I was one of the builders who restored the Chyvarloe site many years ago on behalf of the National Trust during my days as a Cornish Mason.

Community pharmacies are an increasingly important part of healthcare provision and have a particular role to play if we are to achieve meaningful integration of health and social care. In December last year community pharmacy was threatened with a £170 million cut in NHS funding (to be implemented this October). This was announced alongside plans to increase the number of NHS services provided by community pharmacists in their local community.

West Cornwall’s community pharmacists want to work with the Department of Health to improve services, engage in health and social care integration, improve drug waste reduction and improve access to records to support prescriptions.

Following a considerable amount of campaigning this year we have now secured a ‘pause’ in the  Department of Health’s plans to cut community pharmacy funding which is very welcome. This gives time to demonstrate that better use of community pharmacists and GP practices can save the NHS large sums of money and improve patient care.

I returned to the Isles of Scilly at the end of last week to meet the School Council and Youth MPs. I learn a great deal by listening to the concerns and issues raised by our young people and their teachers.

Derek Thomas
Member of Parliament for St Ives

Community Pharmacies

West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas has welcomed the news that the Government has put on hold plans to withdraw a £170 million subsidy to community pharmacies.

One in four of the 12,000 pharmacies around the UK was estimated to be at risk of closure from the proposal.

Mr Thomas helped to deliver a petition to Downing Street opposing the plans which was signed by more than two million people and he also led a debate in Westminster in February when he urged the Government to rethink the proposals.

Announcing the partial climb-down earlier this month, David Mowat, the community health and care minister, said: “It was our intention that these plans go ahead from October.

“We are not now going to be in a position to do that but I think it is right that we spend the time to make sure we are taking the right decision and that what we are doing is going to be right for the NHS and right for the public more generally.” The minister also promised to maintain an “ongoing dialogue” with the sector.

Mr Thomas said: “This is very encouraging news as I know that West Cornwall’s community pharmacists want to work with the Department of Health to improve services, engage in health and social care integration, improve drug waste reduction and improve access to records to support prescriptions.

“My plea to the Government has been: ‘Please don’t write pharmacy off until you have given them the resources to realise their full potential in society’.
“While reforms to NHS services are essential and the way community pharmacists are utilised needs to be reviewed, a blanket removal of funds to pharmacies will only hinder progress.”

Mr Thomas was alerted to the threat to pharmacies at the beginning of the year by Claire Field, manager of the Carbis Bay Pharmacy, who said: “This decision is a really good signal that we are being listened to and that the Government is not just ploughing on with their plans regardless.

“I met Derek in January when he said that he could see that taking pharmacies off the high street would not be a good thing and he has been very involved with the whole campaign.”

A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers highlighted the fact that community pharmacies contributed a net value of £3 billion to the NHS, public sector, patients and wider society in England in 2015, providing substantially more in benefits than they receive in compensation.

“The report shows that pharmacies are not just about dispensing – we offer over the counter advice, help with minor ailments, flu vaccines and managing long-term conditions,” Ms Field added.

“The Government is keen to optimise the use of our clinical skills and hopefully, the fact that the cuts have been delayed will give them the chance to consider how they can invest that money to make the best use of pharmacists.”

Mr Thomas was able to take advantage of the varied services that pharmacies provide when he visited the Carbis Bay Pharmacy last week and had his blood pressure checked in the ‘pressure station’ as part of ‘Know Your Numbers’ week.

Ms Field added: “High blood pressure has no symptoms so the only way to know if you are at risk from a stroke or heart disease is to have a blood pressure check.

“We took about 30 blood pressures in the first few days of Know Your Numbers week of which we have referred several for further monitoring while a couple had dangerously high blood pressure.”

CAPTION: MP Derek Thomas has his blood pressure checked by Claire Field, manager at the Carbis Bay Pharmacy.

St Ives MP Derek Thomas having a blood pressure check-up with Carbis Bay pharamicist, Claire Field.

St Ives MP Derek Thomas having a blood pressure check-up with Carbis Bay pharamicist, Claire Field.

Treleague Dairy

I met the ladies who run Treleague Dairy Farm Shop in Ruan Minor on the Lizard.
Through their shop they demonstrate that you can get pretty much all the groceries you need (all produced in the area) including their own pasteurised milk.
For things that are not produced locally they even have a range of Fair Trade products.
They say ‘Support your local farm, cut down on food miles and enjoy fresh Cornish produce’. At this point the BBC would be required to say ‘other farm shops are also available in the area’ which is true.

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Press Release: Chyvarloe Farm Visit

Well over 250 children from three schools from the Helston area were able to enjoy a day out on a working farm at the start of their school year.

For their Harvest School Day, the Key Stage 1 & 2 pupils, from Godolphin, Garras and Sithney schools were joined by West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas on a visit to the 350-acre Chyvarloe Farm on the coastline at Gunwalloe to find out more about the important contribution local farms make to food production.

After a tour of the farm, where they saw tractors ploughing as well as potato and combine harvesters in action, the children were given a pasty-making demonstration from Ann Muller of Lizard-based Ann’s Pasties and found out how the activities they’d just seen tied in with the production of a pasty.

In addition Judith Green and Claire Dark from the Treleague Dairy in Ruan Minor were on hand to give thirsty children a delicious milkshake while representatives from the National Trust set up a woodland I-Spy trail.

Mr Thomas said: “The opportunity of a day out on a working farm is a real treat for our schoolchildren.

“Learning that the ingredients to make a Cornish pasty can be all sourced locally and how milk is produced and bottled in this ‘hands-on’ way is a fantastic way to promote our countryside and teach about the value of our farming industry.”

Paul Parfitt, from Chyvarloe Farm, said he was very pleased with how the day had gone.

“It all went perfectly,” he said. “We usually welcome around 500 children to the farm every year but that’s over the course of 20 or 25 visits and I don’t think any other Cornish farm has ever hosted so many children on one day.

“I believe that the only way that farmers can show people what we do is by opening our gates and letting them see for themselves.”

 

PICTURE CAPTION: Claire Dark, left, and Judith Green, from Treleague Dairy, with West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas at Chyvarloe Farm.

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Chyvarloe Farm Visit

Many years ago I was one of the builders who rebuilt Chyvarloe Farm in Gunwalloe.

I returned today with over 250 children from three schools from the Helston area to enjoy a day out on the working farm at the start of their school year.

I joined the Key Stage 1 & 2 pupils, from Godolphin, Garras and Sithney schools on a Harvest School Day visit to the 350-acre Chyvarloe Farm on the coastline at Gunwalloe to find out more about the important contribution local farms make to food production.

After a tour of the farm, where they saw tractors ploughing as well as potato and combine harvesters in action, the children were given a pasty-making demonstration from Ann Muller of Lizard-based Ann’s Pasties and found out how the activities they’d just seen tied in with the production of a pasty.

In addition Judith Green and Claire Dark from the Treleague Dairy in Ruan Minor were on hand to give thirsty children a delicious milkshake while representatives from the National Trust set up a woodland iSpy trail.

The opportunity of a day out on a working farm is a real treat for our schoolchildren. Learning that the ingredients to make a Cornish pasty can be all sourced locally and how milk is produced and bottled in this ‘hands-on’ way is a fantastic way to promote our countryside and teach about the value of our farming industry.

Paul Parfitt, who farms Chyvarloe Farm, told me that he usually welcomes around 500 children to the farm every year but that’s over the course of 20 or 25 visits.

The only way that farmers can show people what we do is by opening our gates and letting them see for themselves.

facebook.com/chyvarloefarming
facebook.com/treleague dairy

www.annspasties.co.uk

Community Energy Plus

Community Energy Plus took part in my winter health fairs over the weekend and Cornwall’s oil customers can save time and a lot of money by using the power of collective buying thanks to this organisation.

It is free to register with Community Energy Plus and over £450,000 has been saved across Cornwall by buying oil this way.

Money that can stay in Cornwall and benefit our economy. More info at the link below:
https://www.communityenergyclub.org.uk

Aviva Community Fund Awards

This year’s Aviva Community Fund has recently been launched and AVIVA welcome applications from community groups in West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The Aviva Community Fund awards funding of up to £25,000 for local community projects across a range of categories such as supporting the elderly, health & wellbeing and community sport.

Last year over 430 separate winners received support and this year is bigger and better than ever with over 800 awards up for grabs.

Applications can be made until 11th October via this link and winners will be announced in January.

https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk

Rural Oscar Awards

You can nominate your favourite local businesses for a 2016 ‘Rural Oscar’.

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Launched 12 years ago, the Countryside Alliance Awards give rural businesses and communities a platform and help to spread positive stories about the modern countryside.

These awards are an excellent way to promote the West Cornwall businessmen and women who are working hard to keep the area thriving. Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of recognition.

The awards run across four categories: 1) Local Food Award, 2) Village shop/Post Office Award, 3) Farm Enterprise Award, 4) Rural Tourism Award.
Nominations will be accepted until 4 November, following which judging will take place. Winners will be announced at Parliament next Spring.
To nominate a local business, visit http://www.countryside-alliance.org/ruraloscars/

The Rural Oscars – Countryside Alliance
www.countryside-alliance.org