"Like many in Cornwall, I'm very concerned to hear that the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust is being placed into ‘special measures’ after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found it to be Inadequate for safety, responsiveness and being well led.
The CQC found that surgery, maternity & gynaecology, end-of-life and outpatient services at Treliske Hospital were Inadequate, with the Penrice Birthing Centre also being rated as Requires Improvement.
However, the CQC has rated critical care and children and young people’s services as Good, with services provided at St Michaels Hospital and West Cornwall Hospital as Good.
Inspectors also found that RCHT has made improvements in many areas which were flagged for concern previously, particularly the reporting of incidents and staffing levels during busy periods.
Most importantly, however, the CQC said staff are consistently compassionate and that they treat patients with kindness and respect, particularly those in mental health crisis. No one doubts that the doctors, nurses and staff at RCHT are hard-working and dedicated to caring for the people of Cornwall, and everyone in the county values their work.
However, there are clearly failings at a management level and how various services and resources are allocated, and my sole focus will be to demand improvements for my constituents, regardless of who delivers it.
Over the coming weeks, NHS England and RCHT will be working to address the issues highlighted by the CQC so that the people of Cornwall have the best level of care possible, and I want to reiterate that this is my sole focus.
I will be asking the Department of Health to give all the help, support and guidance it can to assist NHS England and RCHT in increasing and maintaining standards, particularly as we enter the winter months where we usually see increased pressure.
Although the reason for the problems at RCHT are not solely down to an increase in demand, it is clear that more services are needed in other communities rather than the majority of people being funnelled into Truro, and earlier this year I wrote to NHS Kernow to express my support for the creation of an urgent care hub in Launceston.
Not only would this allow the people of North Cornwall to be better cared for in the constituency, but it would take pressure off of Treliske Hospital which would help the whole of Cornwall.
We should explore ways of offering more NHS services in other parts of Cornwall which typically would only be found in Treliske. Of course, there will always be some services and procedures which will have to be based out of Treliske or Derriford, but as part of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan process currently being undertaken by Cornwall Council and NHS Kernow, we should look at replicating more services in other hospitals and medical centres, as well as integrating health and social care.
Patients should be cared for as close as possible to their home, with more joined-up working between hospitals, GPs and social care providers so that the people of Cornwall are cared for much better in their home rather than having to visit hospital."