West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas says he is “greatly encouraged” by the Chancellor’s response to a demand for funds to build an integrated health and social care hub on the Isles of Scilly.

With Phil Confue, who heads up the Shaping our Future programme in Cornwall as well as being chief executive of the Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust and Aisling Khan, from the Isles of Scilly Council, Mr Thomas met Sajid Javid to describe the unique challenges that exist in providing health services on Scilly.

“Providing the right health and care services on Scilly has, for many years, proved extremely challenging,” said Mr Thomas.

“Currently services are provided from three main buildings on St Mary’s - St Mary’s Hospital, which includes 10 in-patient beds, maternity, MIU and outpatient services as well as NHS dentistry, St Mary’s Health Centre and Park House care home, which has 11 useable bedrooms.

“St Mary’s Hospital is under-utilised, very rarely achieving even 25 per cent occupancy while Park House is an ageing building that will struggle to support the delivery of care over the next 20 to 30 years and has no outside space.

“In addition, it is a challenge to attract over to Scilly the highly-skilled healthcare professionals required and too many people are having to travel over to the mainland for treatment, at great expense both for the Kernow Commissioning Group, which subsidises flights over to Land’s End, and for themselves, as they face ongoing travel and accommodation costs to Treliske.

“The result is that many islanders are disinclined to travel unless absolutely necessary, which has long-term adverse implications for prevention and early treatment.”

Mr Thomas said that a bespoke, up-to-date health & social care hub would solve many of the problems that exist, eliminating duplication of services, attracting staff who want to work in modern, fit-for-purpose facilities and cutting down the number of costly journeys to the mainland.

“The Chancellor was very receptive to the ideas put forward and I am confident not only that Scilly is closer to getting the health services it deserves but also that the hub will be seen as blueprint for how services can be better integrated and brought closer to home for Cornwall as a whole.”