When I have been speaking to constituents this summer on the doorsteps it has become clear that there is a disparity between some of the GP practices in North Cornwall. The issues that I hear most about them are the ability to book appointments. I have made sure that colleagues in Government and the NHS are made aware of this and put forward some of the cases I have heard about directly. Some of the practices have very dated systems, so I am pleased to learn that more than one thousand general practices across the country have signed up to make the switch from analogue systems to modern, easy-to-use digital telephones, making booking GP appointments easier as we work to cut waiting lists. We recognise the importance of making a system that works for those online and those who wish to call, I understand the frustration when it comes to booking a GP appointment and I want to do everything possible can to ensure that people do not have to go through the 8am rush to make a booking. The Government has invested £240 million to help more than one thousand practices make the switch from analogue systems to digital telephones – designed to make sure people can receive the care they need when they need it. It is expected every practice in Cornwall will have the new system in place by the end of this financial year, helping to improve patient access to care and put an end to the 8am rush as we work to cut waiting lists.
Access to cash in a rural constituency like ours is very important. A large part of my casework comes from people who wish to continue to use cash as their primary method of transaction. I’ve always been clear that my constituents should have the choice to use cash, and the banks and cash machine providers must ensure proper service provision for North Cornwall. I have taken this up with Government and I’m very pleased to announce it has now been set out in law that banks and building societies must ensure people are no more than three miles away from withdrawing cash and can withdraw cash without any fees. While the country is moving further away from using coins and notes, cash can still be an integral part of many businesses and people’s lives. That is why we have published a statement setting the minimum expectations on banks to ensure that people are no further than three miles away from withdrawing cash. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also been given new powers by the Government to protect the provision of cash access services with the ability to fine banks and building societies if they do not keep up these standards.
I am currently running a survey on my website to find out your views and priorities for North Cornwall. If you would like to take part, please visit https://www.scottmann.org.uk/tell-me-your-views. Paper copies of the survey can be made available on request by telephoning 01208 74337.