Adult Community Health Service in Cornwall to be run by a consortium of health care providers

Since the announcement that Peninsula Community Health (PCH) no longer wished to have the contract for Adult Community Health Services in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – which includes the Helston Community Hospital  – there was a concern this service would be ‘privatised’. The rules state in contracts like this, there has to be an open tender, so other private healthcare providers were able to tender for the contract.

The Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group who are responsible for commissioning this service has today announced that a local NHS consortium comprising Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust, Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and Kernow Health Community Interest Company is NHS Kernow’s preferred provider to deliver the contract from 1 April 2016.

In a statement, the KCCG say:

This consortium brings together a wealth of expertise and knowledge encompassing the full range of health services from GPs to hospital care. It will offer multi-disciplinary care through teams of professionals, working across traditional organisational boundaries. They will use this to enable the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to live the lives they want to live, to the best of their ability.

I welcome this, and just because the name changes above the door, the services will have come to appreciate from this service will continue . People should continue to use services in the same way and talk to their GP about their health needs in the first instance.

Cornwall Council halts its Children’s Community Health & Wellbeing procurement tender

In October 2014, Cornwall Council, NHS Kernow, NHS England the Council for the Isles of Scilly announced their intentions to put 23 services, totally £20.5m into a procurement process. For Cornwal Council this was the issue of the Tender for Children’s Community Health & Wellbeing Services which includes Health Visiting, Family Nurse Partnership, School Nursing and Specialist Speech & Language Therapy.

The services in scope for the tender and the responsible agencies are as follows:

Cornwall Council Services, totalling £9m:

  • Health Visiting
  • Family Nurse Partnership
  • School Nursing
  • Specialist Speech & Language Therapy.

NHS Kernow Services totalling £11.9m:

  • Child and Adolescent Specialist Mental Health Service Primary Mental Health Worker Service
  • Children’s Eating Disorder Services
  • Special Parenting
  • Child Health Development Service
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnostic Service
  • Community Paediatric Occupational Therapy
  • Community Paediatric Dietetics
  • Community Paediatric Obesity service
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Community Specialist Epilepsy Nursing
  • Community Paediatric Physiotherapy
  • Learning Disability Service Diana Nursing Service
  • Specialist Paediatric Continence Service
  • Vulnerable Children’s Nursing Service Community Children’s Nursing
  • Nursing in Special Schools Nurse Liaison

At present children and young people’s community health services are currently provided by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, Peninsula Community Health, and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

However, following the recent national announcement about the Cornwall Devolution Deal and the towards a single, ring-fenced budget for health and social care that is commissioned singly and locally, a decision has been taken by all commissioners (Cornwall Council, NHS England, the Council for the Isles of Scilly and NHS Kernow) to halt the tender process as we all believe the powers in the devolution deal will enable us together to commission a fully joined-up children’s services.

I as Portfolio Holder believe this will allow us to deliver seamless children’s services, in line with our plans to integrate commissioning as set out in the Deal. Cornwall should then have an integrated children’s community health service from, or before, April 2017.

It is important to highlight that children and their families using existing services will not be affected by this decision. They should attend all appointments as normal. Children will continue to receive appropriate services according to their need.

By halting this procurement the work that has been undertaken to date will be used in taking integrated commissioning forward. This will be supported by the “Lessons Learnt” work that I asked for and is currently being undertaken to ensure integrated commissioning going forward. This is because this procurement was one of the first large-scale joint-commissioning projects and some financial, legal and governance rules need to modified to enable greater integration.

In the meantime, we will be talking to current providers of children’s services to ensure these services continue for another year.






The End of the Fag Machine

On 1st October 2011 sales of tobacco from cigarette machines will no longer be allowed. In fact, it will be against the law with fines up to £2,500.

This does not mean a premises cannot sell tobacco, but from October it has to be sold to a customer by a member of staff. The aim of this new legislation is to make sure all sales of tobacco are sold to those who are 18 or over.

Selling Tobacco To Those Underage Goes On

The selling of tobacco to those underage is hardly earth-shattering news. For as long as there has been a legal age restriction, tobacco has been sold to those below it. Will this ever change? If I were honest, then I would have to say no. However, I do believe that every effort should be made to discourage youngsters from taking up the habit of smoking in the first place. This means making sure the avenue of buying from shops is curtailed as much as is possible.

A latest survey by Trading Standards Officers in Cornwall has highlighted that the sale of tobacco by shops to those underage is continuing. Out of 33 premises visited, 60% sold tobacco to the young volunteers who are generally 15 and 16 years old. In total 13 of the 25 shops visited sold to the children without challenging the item. The children also purchased tobacco from vending machines in 7 of the 8 pubs visited without being challenged. I think the later point is a lot harder to police because in a lot of pubs vending machines are out of the way, but is this an excuse?

The figures have disappointed Trading Standards and if these percentages of shop sales were replicated across Cornwall it would seem that this is a much larger issue. No doubt these shops which have failed to uphold the law will be sweating a little, because the possible fines for this breach are considerable.

At the end of the day as long as tobacco is sold, those who are underage will still be able to access it by means of an older friend, sibling or parent. I guess the question should be what else should we do? Answers on a postcard please.

Carers Centres

Plans are afoot to have a Carer’s Centre in Cornwall to enable those who care for family members to have the extra help they need. This is not going to be a stand alone building, but a series of help numbers and drop in centres.

The concept of this is I believe a good one. Many  people out in the wider community do not know who they can turn to to seek help. Many people out there don’t even see themselves as Carers, but really they are because they are helping family members. There are 55,000 Carers in Cornwall and over 6 million in the UK.  So there is no denying there is a need for this type of service.

There will be some sort of HQ for this to work, but this has not been identified as yet. Its got funding for the next 3 years and options for a further 2 years. The funding for the first three years is £300K, £360k and £450k.  The functions that this service will carry out are

  • Information and Advice
  • Counselling
  • Emotional Support
  • Carers Support Groups
  • Welfare Rights Advice
  • Health and Wellbeing Courses
  • Easier Access to Services for Carers

The question is will it work? This was the question being asked at today’s Health and Adults Scrutiny Committee. Many on the Committee saw this as a great step forward in helping those carers.  Others thought there had not been enough consultation over the plan.  Those trying to set up this up said they had fully consulted, but to some (the Committee) this was not enough.

The recommendation from the Committee was that further Consultation would be carried  over the next 6 weeks before being brought back to the Committee for a recommendation to Cabinet.

 For those who want to read the whole report here is the link to the Agenda. It’s number 7 on the Agenda (Link)

Tough Choices

Thursday was once of those days. I had Health and Adults Scrutiny Committee, a Public Meeting in Penzance and a Town Council Meeting in Porthleven. I shall start with The Scrutiny meeting.

This meeting only had one item on the Agenda. Support previous Councils (Cornwall County) decision to move Upper GI Cancer treatment to Devon. This is a rare form of Cancer that effects roughly 120 people in Cornwall per year. With approximately 25 of those needing surgery. The Primary Care Trust (PCT) certainly came in numbers. They gave a well presented argument of why this should be moved. It went along the line of a centre of excellence. They did state over and over this move was not for financial reasons. (maybe state this a little to much).  The choice we had to make (a very difficult one) was should we endorse this move or not. After over 2 hours of discussion we came to a view.

A proposal was made by Mario Fonk to refer this decision to the Sec of State of Health for his ruling along the lines of not enough information was available when the previous decision was made. I, after careful thought, agreed and seconded his proposal. Services like these should be kept in the County and not transfered to another areas. You have to think about the after-care, the families of those who are effected and more importantly keep services in Cornwall!

BBC News Link

I think its a slippery slope when you allow services to move out of the County. More importantly, because the geographical nature of Cornwall. We don’t have the luxury of being surrounded by other Counties with similar services.

Hospital Fetes, Tombolas and Lucky Dips.

Saturday was a big day for me. My first official opening of an event since getting elected to Cornwall Council. The event was the Helston Community Hospital Fete. This is where the staff of the hospital raise money for patient items; things to help people who have the misfortune of being admitted, make their stay a little bit more comfortable. Really the Government (all are to blame) should provide adequate money for this, but they don’t.

The staff give their own time to do this. Over the last few years £10,000 has been raised. Saturday’s event raised nearly £1,500. All from the sale of brick-a-brac, tombolas, lucky dips, teas and cakes. Without hard working and dedicated staff who go that extra mile, there would be no extra money.

If you are visiting, or are in hospital and feel like moaning about the state of the NHS, don’t, just pause for a minute and think. It’s the staff who give up their off-duty days to raise money for the benefit of us all. It’s certainly made me willing to wait that extra time to see a nurse or doctor.

Public Questions A Thought..

There I was today attending my First Health and Adults Scrutiny Committee, not sure what to expect as this was the first one I had attended, not being a Member of said Committee.

During this, members of the Public are invited to ask questions (those that had been submitted in writing beforehand). These can be on the issues that this committee covers, but can’t be on certain personal cases.

There were 8 questions in total, and well founded ones at that. What was difficult to understand was when a response was given, most of them would not accept the answers.

Do we now live in a society that we must have the answer we want, even though that answer is not right or correct? It would be easy to pander to the crowd and just give them the answers they want to hear, but I believe this is not the job we are here to do.

I welcome good honest questions, even tough questions, but beware what you ask, as sometimes it’s not the answer you want to hear!