Helston's MP has said more money needs to be invested in the NHS after staffing shortages and a lack of bed space meant the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT) was put into special measures.

The trust, which covers the county's three main hospitals, was put into special measures following a series of 'inadequate' rating from the Care and Quality Commission (CQC).

Derek Thomas, MP for the St Ives constituency, said the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt need to recognise the need for significant increases in spending on the NHS both in community and urgent care.

Mr Thomas, who has never voted against the government on health, and voted against increased spending on the NHS and social care in January this year, told the Packet he would be discussing the issue with Mr Hammond. He said: "I can not say when as these meetings take some organisation. Soon though because the budget is looming.

"There are broader issues regarding health care in Cornwall and Scilly which include finances and these are the discussions I shall be having with Jeremy."

St Ives' former Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George, now a Cornish healthcare campaigner, has called for a new blueprint for the county's health services and an end to current preparations for the government's Sustainability and Transformation Plan's, which aim to restructure the NHS.

Mr George said Cornwall's NHS needed more clinical and registered nurses, more acute and community hospital beds and community and primary care which is fully resourced to safely take the pressure off of acute hospitals.

He said: "This won’t happen unless the NHS gets the money it needs and deserves.

"Local Tory MPs voted down the only option they have been given to get the NHS the money it needs."

And he added that Conservative MPs were trying to appear supportive of the NHS while supporting government cuts, saying: "Government ministers should come clean and admit that many of the failures which resulted in our hospitals and health economy being placed in 'special measures' were the product of their own dogma-driven policies."

Mr Thomas has said the government needs to address these staff vacancies, including ensuring staff have access to adequate and affordable housing, and added that the lifting of the public sector pay cap should be used to attract staff. However, unions have said staff will still lose out in real-terms, once inflation is taken into account, and the Conservatives have also abolished bursaries for trainee nurses.

He also called on the government to involve GPs more in improving care, provide more funding for care packages, and free up secondary beds, such as by reopening the Edward Hain Hospital in St Ives.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro is received the brunt of the criticism from the CQC, with West Cornwall and St MIchael's hospitals both rated as 'good'.

The special measures announcement means the NHS will now appoint an improvement director, who will work with outside 'partner bodies' - reimbursed by the NHS - to direct improvements at the hospital in failing areas and make sure resources are targeted most effectively.

Kathy Byrne, RCHT chief executive, said “good, safe care" was the trust's top priority, and added: “We take the CQC report very seriously and I want to apologise to any patient who has waited too long for treatment or not received the very best care.

“We have now established a stable senior leadership team and we want good clinical leadership to be at the heart of our quality improvement programme.

“Everyone who works in our hospitals is committed to making the changes our local community and regulators want to see."

Meanwhile trade union UNISON said the move was a sign of the "unprecedented strain" placed on the NHS through cuts from central government - which has set a target of £270million in spending reductions for Cornwall by 2020.

South west regional organiser Siobhan Brown said: “Long-term underfunding of the NHS and cuts to council budgets are making it harder to deliver good services. Inadequate social care is hitting the service delivery of the Trust and there are recruitment and retention issues due to the extreme pressure on staff. The trust is required to provide more services yet without the resources to do so.”