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Cornwall's Healthcare Warning

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11:06am 6th May 2014

There is a warning healthcare in Cornwall is under huge pressure

A report claims the Duchy has missed out on £220 million worth of funding over the last seven years.

Now Health Initiative Cornwall is calling for one single health body rather than split things between the NHS and council.

Chair Graham Webster reckons it would improve how cash is spent: "What we are seeing now is all the pressures. We know our acute hospitals are under pressure, our community hospitals are under pressure, patients are having their operations delayed and cancelled, and turn-around times are not good. In the last two months we've had three serious never events at the hospital.

"We know there's 68 beds been cut from our acute hospitals in recent years, we're aware that a further 20-30 beds are under threat. Since 2003, 138 beds have been cut from the community hospitals. So, in total the county has lost 200 beds in that time."

Jim McKenna is in charge of health and social care at the council. He agrees funding is a problem: "Health as well as local government has been underfunded in Cornwall for a long, long time "The challenge for the council is trying to take £190 million pounds out of the budget over the next five years but within that clearly we will seek to prioritise services for vulnerable people.  

"There's certainly one thing that could be done in the short term is much more integration of service so instead of different organisations visiting people at different times a lot more co-ordination could be entered into so that is a priority for me and for the council to work on.

NHS Kernow's Director of Operations, Andrew Abbott, said: "We are committed to making sure everyone can access health services when they need them, wherever they live.

"The NHS across the country needs to deal with cost pressures brought about by inflation, population growth and the increase proportion of older people living with complex care needs - without significant growth in funding this does mean we need to get more from every pound we spend.  To help towards this improve in efficiency, NHS Kernow and Cornwall Council are both committed to integrating services to reduce duplication and improve services for people.  Under our Pioneer programme, Living Well, we have set an ambition to integrate the commissioning of health and social care, to bring together elements of the health and social care budgets that have been separate in the past."

A spokesperson for NHS England said:
"The funding formula focuses purely on the health needs of an area. It uses a more detailed level of information than ever before taking into account key health factors such as age, deprivation, population size and change over time.

"NHS England's duty is to serve the public and achieve the best possible health outcomes for people while getting value for money.  It is vital that we allocate funding in a way that ensures equal access for equal need across the country and addresses health inequalities."

11:06am 6th May 2014

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