The first in a series of meetings in which West Cornwall residents will grill health professionals about how they would like to see local health services develop over the next five years was hosted by local MP Derek Thomas on Friday.
Every health and care system in England – including Cornwall - is currently being required to 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 against the backdrop of a potential £279 million shortfall in the county if services do not change.
Mr Thomas said: “The NHS has outlined an approach to ensure that health and care services are built around the needs of local populations but in Cornwall we are already spending per head of population what will be available to spend in 2020-21.
“Despite the challenges, I believe that with the right information, the STP can make a big difference in helping to improve our health and social care services and to this end I have managed to get together a panel of people who are fairly distant from health and social care provision who can question the experts on how they would like to see their own particular aspect of health provision change.
“I am hoping that that a whole range of health professionals including doctors, carers, nurses, NHS managers, pharmacists and those involved with mental health provision will come along to meet with the panel.
“I have also invited health campaigners such as members of West Cornwall HealthWatch and my predecessor as MP, Andrew George, to share their experiences of the challenges involved in improving the NHS in Cornwall.”
As the meetings take place, a report will be compiled and then submitted to those responsible for compiling the STP before the plan goes out for final consultation next May-June.
At the first meeting, Phil Confue, as the Cornwall STP’s Senior Responsible Officer, explained to the dozen panellists explained what the STP was trying to achieve and outlined how the panel could contribute to the process.
“Mr Confue set out three driving principles of the STP which he stated were patient safety, reducing costs and improved patient outcomes,” he added.
“This initiative can contribute to ensuring that patients are at the centre of this transformation plan and that the concerns of medical professionals are taken on board.”
Members of the public are welcome to attend and, if they wish to contribute, can supply written suggestions and comments on how they feel health services can improve.
The meetings continue on Friday, November 25 at Marazion Community Centre at noon when health campaigners will come under the spotlight.
Other meetings: Friday, 2nd December at Marazion Community Centre from 2pm; Friday, 9th December (3pm); Friday, 6th January, 2017 (2pm), Saturday, 7th January (10am), Friday, 13th January (3pm). Thursday, 19th January (2pm) – venues have yet to be confirmed for all these dates.