Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter has visited the newly expanded and refurbished emergency department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Dr Poulter, accompanied by Truro and Famouth MP Sarah Newton, was shown around the department yesterday by director, Dr Andy Virr, matron, Claire Blake and specialist stroke nurse, Ally James. He spent time with staff talking about changes to their working environment and the changes that have been put in place for care of stroke patients.

The expansion project was part-funded by a £1.2 million investment from the Department of Health and has seen the number of trolley bays increase from 12 to 22 and separate new areas created for children and walk-in patients with less severe injury or illness.

Dr Poulter also visited the Truro base for University of Exeter’s Medical School and European Centre for the Environment and Human Health at the Knowledge Spa where Year 5 students from the Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry and researchers were among those he met.

Dr Poulter said: “I was very impressed by the 35 minute average wait to see a doctor in the emergency department and the good clinical leadership in place. The modern facilities are excellent and clearly delivering the improved levels of privacy, dignity and quality of care that were planned for.”

He added: “The clinical training of medical students in and alongside the hospital setting is hugely important. They are the next generation of doctors. Being given the quality of education they are receiving as part of the Medical School means they are able to hit the ground running when they qualify and go out on the wards.”