MP’s Column

On Saturday I met St Ives Mayor, Cllr Suzanne Tanner, and received hundreds of letters, including some beautifully written ones by children at St Uny CofE Academy, in support of our efforts to reopen the beds at Edward Hain Community Hospital.

There is wide support for this and we are working to ‘exploit’ the system so that inpatient services are revived and fresh services provided. The next step is to meet with the CEO of Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group as she drafts her assessment of the contribution of community beds in Cornwall and on Scilly. These letters are very much appreciated and can contribute to this study.

Cornwall has exported talent for generations. One such person is Michael George (from Mullion) who works with Heart Valve Voice, the UK’s charity for heart valve disease. Michael and I have been working together for two years now to increase awareness and press Government and the NHS in improving the diagnosis and treatment pathways for patients with valve disease. New treatments are continually being developed and Michael and I observed a transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) on a patient with aortic stenosis.

This involves inserting a new valve, usually by way of a large blood vessel at the top of the leg, into the heart and inside the existing faulty valve. This procedure is quick and the positive health benefits for patients are dramatic. The procedure is non-evasive compared to the alternative open heart surgery and patients are usually up and about and home within a few days. Patients who would benefit from a TAVI procedure often have limited life-expectancy without the operation yet it is not readily available on the NHS.

Michael and I worked to successfully to secure NICE guidelines on heart valve disease earlier this year which is an improvement for patients but does not go far enough. We are now writing to all the Clinical Commissioning Groups reminding them of the new guidance and asking them to make TAVI much more readily available. It makes good sense as the procedure allows patients to return to normal life quickly, reducing their need of NHS and community services.