MP's Column

Good news for Goonhilly as last week we learned that Cornwall is to host the Satellite Centre of Excellence to explore how satellite and data technologies can help businesses generate new ideas and grow markets. Goonhilly, supported by the UK Space Agency, will be partnering the Met Office, Plymouth University and the University of Exeter to deliver this centre. The space sector provides the potential for highly skilled, highly paid jobs and, with Goonhilly at the heart of the South West's space story, there is an opportunity for local people to benefit from these jobs.

I led a debate in Parliament regarding the role of community pharmacies. The Department of Health has written to Community Pharmacists setting out the plan to increase the role of community pharmacists as part of a more integrated local care model, including support for healthy living; support for self-care for minor ailments and long-term conditions; medication reviews in care homes. This is exactly the right direction as we work to integrate health and social care. Community pharmacists are an essential player in a new NHS, equipped to meet modern society's demands.

However, funding for Community Pharmacies will reduce by £170 million. I know that West Cornwall's community pharmacists want to work with the Department of Health to improve services, engage in health and social care integration, improve drug waste reduction and improve access to records to support prescriptions.

The future of independent community pharmacists is very important to me and I've asked the Government what assurances it can give to independent community pharmacists in rural areas and what consultation has been conducted with Pharmacy patients to see what their concerns would be if Community pharmacies where to close.

The Edward Hain Community Hospital is loved and supported. I was informed late last week that, following a proactive fire safety review, a phased temporary suspension of the in-patient beds at Edward Hain Community Hospital in St Ives has begun, to allow remedial works to take place.

In other words, the beds will be closed and patients moved elsewhere until fire-safety work is completed. I have been assured that this remedial work, needed to allow the beds to be reopened, will be carried out as soon as possible and that all other out-patient services operated by Peninsula Community Health (PCH) from the site will continue and patients should attend their booked appointments as normal. Changes to healthcare provision can lead to misinformation that can then lead to unnecessary concern and worry. It is important that we avoid this regarding Edward Hain Community Hospital.

Children from Parc Eglos Primary School visited the Houses of Parliament last week. I was able to escape my office unnoticed to meet them and learn from them about their ideas and experiences. They asked some excellent questions. I find a space in my diary to visit a school most Fridays, quite simply because the education of our young people is one of the highest priorities.

Derek Thomas
Member of Parliament for St Ives