MP's Column

The series of drop-in events this autumn have now come to an end and I am not sure if there is a better way for a local MP to really touch base with constituents. I find these events amongst the most enjoyable and fruitful activities I do as the Member of Parliament, not least because I meet people of all ages and hear of the things that really exercise people's minds. As in previous years, I held drop-in events right across the constituency and I appreciate the time people gave. I plan to host further events in the New Year in addition to my regular appointment surgeries. Please call my office if you would like to set up an appointment on 01736 363038.

One of the greatest challenges facing us is how we ensure people in old age receive the care and support they need and deserve. The cabinet at Cornwall Council will meet next week to consider far-reaching proposals to transform the county’s social care services. This represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Cornwall Council to correct its ‘dire record’ in the field and follows a recent critical report into health and social care services in Cornwall by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC said that Cornwall Council committed less than half the amount of resource into social care beds that comparable authorities around the country do, contributing just 14% to the total spend compared to 33% for other authorities. It also shows that Cornwall is lagging well behind other areas of the country in getting patients out of emergency hospital; 82 cases of delayed transfer of care per 100,000 people is the result of failings in the Adult Social Care system in Cornwall – double the 42 cases per 100,000 that occur in comparable areas.

12 months ago I launched an inquiry into the provision of health and social care in West Cornwall, and our report set out a number of recommendations designed to adequately support, train and reward domiciliary care providers - the army of unsung heroes who care for elderly and often vulnerable citizens 365 days a year. Let's hope that our council seizes the opportunity to transform the care available for our older population.

Derek Thomas

MP for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (St Ives)