A £325 million fund for health projects announced in this week’s Budget could be used to finance a purpose-built health and care hub in Penwith, says MP Derek Thomas.
As well as the fund, which will be used specifically to pay for capital projects to integrate health services, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said a £2 billion package of funding would be made available over the next three years for councils to spend on providing more care packages, supporting social care providers and relieving pressure on the NHS.
Mr Thomas recently met Mr Hammond to discuss health issues and stressed the need for the Government to fund the integration of services.
Following Wednesday’s Budget statement, Mr Thomas said that he would immediately look further into the feasibility of building a purpose-built health and care hub offering a range of services and including community beds.
The idea of such a hub was one of the key recommendations of a report compiled by an independent health inquiry set up by Mr Thomas and which has now been submitted to NHS managers who are in the process of producing a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Cornwall.
“I am delighted that the Chancellor seems to have responded positively to my requests for funds to be made available so that plans to integrate services can become a reality,” said Mr Thomas.
“We now need to work together – GPs, health professionals, NHS managers and the local community – to see whether the idea of a hub, which has proved highly successful in other parts of the country, can work here in West Cornwall.
“The possibility of a brand new facility does not reduce the need to get beds at Edward Hain open as soon as possible but I believe we will need additional community beds to accommodate our ageing population in the future.”
Since the Budget, Mr Thomas has already been in contact with Phil Confue, the chief executive of Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust and a senior responsible officer for the STP, who says he would back efforts to investigate the viability of a hub.
Mr Confue said: “Health and care hubs are something we are considering in other parts of the county and there are many benefits for the patient from having a number of different services under the same roof.”
Mr Thomas added that he was pleased that the Chancellor had also pledged £2 billion for social care over the next three years but urged Cornwall Council to work closer with NHS providers to reduce the delays that are currently occurring in the transfer of care between the NHS and social care.