MP's Column

We need to do more to support and care for people who have a mental health illness and I met with Colin Quick from Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust to discuss what is needed to ensure patients can access the best possible care. I took from our meeting a number of points that deserve attention.

Primarily, there is a need to increase the number of adult beds available in Cornwall so that we can avoid having to send people out of county. The evidence is clear. The outcome of a patient's treatment is improved if they are treated 'closer to home' not least because they receive greater continuity of care and it easier for families to be part of the recovery process.

We need to pursue efforts to provide a new centre for children and adolescents. It would be fantastic if we could get to a place where all children and adolescent services where in Cornwall.

I was encouraged to hear of efforts by community mental health teams to improve links with GPs and speed up the time that patients can be seen following a referral by their GP.

As you know a lot of work is being done to integrate services in Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly. The scene can be confusing as a number of providers exist and take responsibility for different health and social care services. I discussed with Colin Quick my desire (that I believe is shared by many others) to see a single federation of Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust to adopt the Peninsula Community Health hospitals to deliver fully joined up hospital provision.

The opportunity to bring services together in Cornwall is significant and I hope everyone who has any shred of influence will commit themselves to this objective. I concluded my Friday with an informal meeting in my constituency office with members of West Cornwall Healthwatch and I know they fully support this objective.