Health minister makes pledge on care integration
Health Secretary Matt Hancock in St Austell with MP Steve Double, PICTURE: PAUL WILLIAMS
26th May 2021
By Natasha Swift
Patients popping into Carlyon House for their covid-19 jab on Monday received a surprise when they were greeted by the man who is front and centre of the UK’s fight against coronavirus.
Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, visited St Austell Healthcare GP practice where he talked 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 in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly since December 2020.
Speaking exclusively to the St Austell Voice, Mr Hancock said: “I’m here to see St Austell Healthcare and to meet the new Conservative-led Cornwall Council to talk about how we can work in an integrated way between the council and the NHS across Cornwall to improve the health of people throughout Cornwall.
“We are investing a lot in the NHS, but we want to make sure that council services and NHS services are more closely integrated together.”
Mr Hancock was accompanied by MP for St Austell, Steve Double, who supports the health minister in his role as Parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to the Department of Health and Social Care.
Mr Hancock was welcomed by the St Austell Healthcare team before holding talks
about a more integrated health care service in Cornwall with the county’s health and care leaders, which also included the chief executive of Cornwall Council, Kate Kennally, and Conservative group leader, Linda Taylor.
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 three 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.”
Ahead of his pit-stop in St Austell, Mr Hancock visited the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust where he heard about the recent and ongoing investment in the hospital’s infrastructure including plans for a building for women’s and children’s care 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 40 new hospitals which he said would be built by 2030, backed by an initial £3.7 billion.
Mr Hancock was shown the site where the construction of new inpatient, outpatient and diagnostic facilities – which will form part of the new MRI and oncology unit – is under way as well as the modular built, progressive recovery unit.
Both schemes will release space for future development.
While in Truro, he was given a tour of the works under way by chief executive of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT), Kate Shields, who also joined talks in St Austell.
She told the Voice Mr Hancock had been impressed by what he had seen: “We have got a lot of building work currently taking place at Treliske and some of the building work has been planned for years like the replacement of our cancer ward and some new MRI scanners.
“We have got work that’s in train, the new women’s and children’s hospital, so we are just waiting for the permissions to crack on with the enabling work. That means that will be finished by 2025/26.
“We also took the opportunity of showing Matt Hancock the changes we have made in our A&E department, so new resources for adults and for children and a new assessment area.
“He was impressed and we tried to impress him even further, so the women’s and children’s business case definitely moves as quickly as possible.”