Having campaigned for several years to bring world-class NHS services closer to home, I am delighted that Bodmin has been selected as one of the new Community Diagnostic Centres announced by the Health Secretary. Early diagnosis can be critical to positive outcomes for patients I am very pleased that more people in North Cornwall will be able to be referred to the Bodmin centre by their GP.
GPs will be able to refer patients to a centre so they can access lifesaving checks closer to home and be diagnosed for a range of conditions, rather than travelling to the hospital. This will be more convenient for patients, more efficient and more resilient to the risk of cancelled tests in hospitals due to COVID-19. The centres will be staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff including nurses and radiographers and are open 7 days a week. All cancer services are back to or above pre-pandemic levels with almost half a million people checked for cancer in June and July – among the highest numbers on record – while more than fifty thousand people started treatment for cancer in the same period, a 32% increase on the same period last year. The centres will continue to further level up access to vital cancer tests and other tests to tackle the backlogs that have built up during the pandemic.
The government recently announced an extra £5.4 billion to the NHS to respond to COVID-19 over the next six months, taking total extra COVID-19 funding to health and care services to over £34 billion this year alone. It builds on the new Health and Social Care Levy, which will see funding rise by a record £36 billion over the next three years. This package will include, £8 billion ring-fenced nationally to tackle backlogs and help the NHS deliver an extra 9 million checks, scans and operations for patients across the country from 2022 onwards.
During the recent recess, I also had the chance to speak to management at Cornwall NHS Partnership Trust, and I am very pleased that they have confirmed to me that their plan is to establish an urgent treatment centre in Bodmin alongside a diagnostic hub. The establishment of an urgent treatment centre is as you would expect reliant on estates work and recruitment. Stratton MIU was also reopened on the 1st of October as planned, and I am pleased to see that North Cornwall’s cottage hospitals are all now being used to their full potential.