George calls on Health Ministers to wipe Cornwall’s slate clean
Local MP, Andrew George, plans to intensify pressure on Health Ministers to give Cornwall’s health service a fresh start next April by wiping the slate clean. He is again writing to Ministers as the new Commissioning body (Kernow Clinical Commissioning), which will take over from the Primary Care Trust, continues to make good progress and the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust passes important landmarks towards achieving Foundation Trust status next year.
Following the ultimately successful campaign three years ago to achieve ‘target’ funding which more fairly reflects the social and economic challenges of Cornwall, it has become more apparent that the duchy has continued to receive far less than the Government believes it should get (e.g. Cornwall received £56m less than the Government’s target in 2010/11). Mr George has made the case to Ministers that one way to compensate patients in Cornwall is to write off the legacy of debt still being carried forward by the Hospitals’ Trust.
Mr George said, “If there’s any natural justice then the least the Government could do is to let Cornwall’s NHS go forward into its brave new world of a totally refashioned system with a clean slate. It would be wrong in these circumstances for any new NHS body to be saddled with debts which were significantly less than the amount by which Cornwall was underfunded over the last couple of decades.
“Health systems in the wealthier south east have been overfunded by tens of £millions and will begin the new system debt free. Saddling the underfunded Cornish NHS with a legacy of debt will leave it more vulnerable to predatory private health companies keen to make rich pickings from the easier to provide services.
“Last week’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) report into the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) showed how the current funding pressures are having an adverse impact on service delivery. Many patients comment on how over stretched the Trust’s excellent and dedicated NHS staff are – especially nurses – and the CQC report confirms that staffing levels rather than standards are a significant issue. We deserve safe staffing levels on our wards and therefore need a decent funding settlement for the RCHT so they can fund it,” said Mr George.
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