I hope you are all well and looking forward to Christmas, despite the icy weather we have experienced over the past week. On Friday I was very proud to be at the opening of the Community Diagnostic Hub at Bodmin Hospital. This milestone marks a significant upgrade in the capability of our local NHS and is something I have called for over several years. Bodmin was chosen because it is close to the A30 and has room to expand. This was identified due to the accessibility for the public and the ambulance service, the size of the site for future development and the potential to support the emergency departments in Truro and Plymouth. This unit will support and work alongside the Urgent Treatment Centre which will be opening its first phase next spring. Having this incredible diagnostic hub in North Cornwall means that local people will not have to travel to Treliske or West Cornwall for MRI, Ultrasound, or CT scans.
The patient always comes first, and as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) the NHS’ aim is to ensure patients get the care they need, fast, and to relieve pressure on A&E departments. The reasons for this are simple. We all know where to go when life is in danger – A&E, but estimates show that many of the people who visit A&E each year could have their needs addressed elsewhere in the urgent care system. However, patients have told the NHS that the range of available alternatives can be confusing – Walk in Centres, Urgent Care Centres, Minor Injury Units, and others with local names and all with different service levels. A&E is understandably the default choice for many people unsure where to turn when they need urgent care or advice. This can be bad for our NHS because it puts unnecessary pressure on A&E and other parts of the urgent and emergency care system, and it’s bad for patients because many are treated in the wrong setting. The commonality of service provision under the UTC name will increasingly end the current confusing range of options and simplify the system so patients know where to go and have clarity of which services are on offer wherever they are in the country. Bodmin’s UTC will work alongside other parts of the urgent care network in Cornwall including primary care, community pharmacists, ambulance, and other community-based services to provide a locally accessible and convenient alternative to A&E in North Cornwall. Working with the Community Diagnostic Hub will mean that many injuries and ailments can be detected, assessed, and scanned on the same site and results can be given to the patients very quickly.
Since I was first elected in 2015, I have worked hard to bring world-class NHS services closer to home, and this enhanced service at Bodmin helps to bring this aspiration to reality. I would also like to thank all the stakeholders who were involved in delivering this project on time and within budget.