Cornwall has its own unique identity and being a peninsula at the end of the line, I have always said we should have more control over the way we configure key services. Last month I spoke at the Cornish Constitutional Convention and made the case for Cornwall having more of a say over culture and heritage policy. I also think that we can do more to ensure our bus routes work effectively by joining up bus services with train timetables and exploring the possibility of franchise models to make sure that rural routes link in with the main trunk routes.
Another area where we could join things up more effectively is in the area of health and social care. The problems we have had with black emergencies at Treliske have largely been driven by the fact that Cornwall Council have been slow to roll out care packages for people waiting to be discharged from hospital. If we could join up funding streams more effectively by looking at increased joint commissioning of services we could reduce the tendency of different institutions working in the field of health and social care to operate in silos.
We also need to look at how we can make things work more effectively within the NHS. As people live longer there will always be growing demands on the NHS Budget. That is why George Osborne was right to commit in to an increase in NHS spending of £8 billion. However, we also need to make sure that funds are distributed fairly so Cornwall gets its fair share.
One of the ways you take pressure of A&E departments is through supporting alternatives like the minor injuries unit currently being piloted at Camborne and Redruth Hospital. We also have a fantastic tradition of hospice care in Cornwall with charities supporting people with end of life care and support. These hospices mainly run on charitable funds but, without them, there would be a lot more pressure on NHS services.