Cornishman Article July 2017

Cornishman Column July 2017

As our July column goes to press, Robert Kennedy’s 1966 quote, “Like it or not, we live in interesting times”, has never seemed more apposite.

Six Tory MPs have been returned to represent Cornwall. The St Ives constituency saw Derek Thomas win with a 312 majority over the Lib Dems whilst Camborne/Redruth’s George Eustice got back with a reduced majority of 1,577 over Labour.

Cornwall Council has a new Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HASCOSC). It contains only a handful of the former committee members, who to their great credit, following a tsunami of evidence from individuals and health groups, sent back Cornwall’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) as not being fit for purpose. The new committee has one Penwith councillor, (Sue Nicholas, Con.) and one from Kerrier (Loveday Jenkin, MK). Loveday signed up to West Cornwall HealthWatch’s pledges during the council elections.

Health campaigners and the Cornish public must wait for the first proper meeting of the HASCOSC to find out whether it adopts the critical report produced by the STP sub- committee or consigns it to a bottom drawer.

We also wait to see if the request by Armand Toms, the new Chair, to leave party politics outside the room and work together for the good of Cornwall is heeded.

A reality check on the state of Cornwall’s STP, shows us that style over substance is alive and well. It is no longer to be referred to as the ‘STP’ but henceforth will be known as ‘Shaping Our Future’.

NHS England has also parachuted in yet another senior manager with the title of Head of Stakeholder Engagement, who will lead a series of engagement workshops spread over the whole of Cornwall running between July and November. At what cost and who will foot the bill has yet to be revealed.

Cornishman readers may now be experiencing a strong feeling of ‘déjà vu’!

 As health bosses plough on regardless of mounting critical evaluation by well- respected academics, the next phase of this government’s plan for health is slowly emerging.  Accountable Care Partnerships or Organisations (ACPs/ ACOs) is a key part of the Five Year Forward Plan. Worryingly, these are modelled on US schemes with commercial hospital providers and private insurers at their core.

Meanwhile, during negotiations with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the government miraculously found £1 billion for Northern Ireland.  This means their health service will get a much needed £200 million, with a further £50 million for Mental Health.

Some quarters of the press have dubbed this as ‘Cash for Votes’. Could Derek and George, put Cornwall before Party and do the same for our underfunded health services? We wait with anticipation!


450 words.


Jan Williams and Graham Webster 29/06/2017: Copyrighted to West Cornwall HealthWatch.