Last week the NHS dominated national news with concerns that it is in ‘crisis’.
Some were quick to point the finger at the Government, claiming that the challenges it faces are as a result of Government cuts to funding.
However, this is inaccurate and categorically incorrect. In order to see for myself the position with regards to health funding in Cornwall I asked for a breakdown of funding the NHS in Cornwall has received in recent years.
I was pleased to see that since NHS Cornwall, or the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group’s creation in 2013, the Government has steadily increased its funding year on year, above the annual rate of inflation. This means that far from being cut, NHS services in Cornwall have received both a cash and a real terms increase – that is to say above the rate of inflation. I was also pleased to see the predicted figures show proposed increases of funding for NHS services in Cornwall until at least 2021 too.
If you are a regular reader of my column, you will know that I don’t think that just throwing money at a problem will make it go away.
Nor do I think turning this great institution of our country into a political football, as all political parties are prone to doing at times, achieves anything.
Our NHS is facing significant pressures, that much is true. I regularly meet with constituents who use its services and have both good and bad experiences, the vast majority of which are in fact very good. I also hold regular meetings with NHS management to discuss their concerns and raise them at all levels of Government as appropriate.
Much of the pressure the NHS faces is as a direct result of the ever-increasing demand it is facing. A growing and ageing population along with ever more complex and expensive treatments results in the expectations we place on the NHS becoming unsustainable.
I will continue to fight for more money for our NHS in Cornwall, as I have done for our local schools, Police and local government. But it is clear to me that the answer is not simply just more and more money. It also has to be about making sure our health care services are run as efficiently as possible and adapt to meet the needs of a changing population. We also need greater integration between our health and care services.
It is well publicised that the NHS in Cornwall has overspent its budget and is projecting a large deficit this year and in the years to come. This is why it is needing to find savings of more than £200 million in the coming years. The Sustainability and Transformation Plan is looking at the future of health and care services in Cornwall and the NHS are seeking the views of the public. You can find details of the plan here and I would encourage everyone who cares about the way our health service is run to take a look and have your say - http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/shapethefuture
As always, my team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please contact me on either 01726 829379 or email@example.com. Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: www.stevedouble.org.uk/events