Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Community Health and Care visits Morecambe Bay

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Community Health and Care, David Mowat MP visited Morecambe Bay on 23 August to see and experience some of the innovative work ongoing as part of the Better Care Together strategy.

David Mowat MP was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Community Health and Care at the Department of Health in July 2016. His brief includes adult social care, carers, community services, cancer, dementia, learning disabilities and all elements of primary care – including dentistry and pharmacy.

The day involved a packed programme visiting a variety of schemes which are transforming care for patients and public in both Barrow in Furness and Millom.

Upon his arrival at Furness General Hospital the Minister was welcomed by Dr John Howarth Deputy Chief Executive of Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust and Professor of Primary Care at University of Cumbria), Aaron Cummins, Deputy Chief Executive, University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Paul Grout, Deputy Medical Director, University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

The tour began with a visit to the Emergency Department where the Minister got to learn about the telehealth scheme which aims to reduce the number of unnecessary patient journeys to the department from Millom. He got to see the high definition camera and monitor which is linked up to a similar facility in Millom which allows two- way consultations to take place. This means that health professionals in Millom can call on the expertise of senior consultants in the Emergency Department to remotely triage a patient. In addition David Mowat MP spent time with staff who are working to reduce delayed transfers of care by partnership working.

Whilst in Barrow the Minister met Dr Geoff Jolliffe, GP and Locality Lead for Furness who gave him a tour of the soon to be built Alfred Barrow Primary Care Centre where he was able to view and discuss plans for the new building.

Dr Geoff Jolliffe said:

I am extremely pleased that the Under Secretary of State got to see the Alfred Barrow site, which when developed, will make a massive difference for the people of Barrow. It means that primary, community and social care services will be working together from one place which encourages partnership working and consequently an improved experience for patients.

In the afternoon the Under Secretary of State travelled to Millom where he was given a tour of the Millom Community Hospital and GP surgery. He had a first-hand experience of a teleconsultation appointment using the high definition camera and monitor which is linked to the facility in the Emergency Department in Furness General Hospital.

Additionally, he got to meet representatives of the Millom Alliance community group known as the Millom Health Action Group who told him all about their community led initiatives over a working lunch.

Dr John Howarth said:

It was important for the Minister to meet the Millom Health Action Group as we are working hand in hand with the community who have driven a variety of innovative ideas and projects locally. It’s quite astonishing to see what can be achieved when health and care providers work directly with the community. He also got to see for himself, the working conditions in which the GPs are currently operating and learned about the plans for extending the GP surgery as well as the innovative ways that the health providers are working as partners with the surgery.

Jenny Brumby, from Millom Health Action Group said:

Millom Health Action Group welcomed the Under Secretary of State for Community Health and Care David Mowat MP to Millom yesterday to see the great collaboration between the NHS and the Millom Community. The new telehealth link in Millom surgery will eventually reduce the miles Millom people will have to travel for care. Our Community is thankful that their ideas are being put into practice and Millom has a very healthy future.

Aaron Cummins said:

We were extremely pleased to welcome the Under Secretary of State to Morecambe bay and want to formally thank him for coming along to find out more about the latest developments to improve patient experience and population health outcomes across North Lancashire and South Cumbria

Minister for Community Health and Care David Mowat MP said:

Patients and staff are seeing real benefits of the exciting new care models programme in Morecambe Bay. It's great to see health teams working together and using technology innovatively to deliver individual care packages for patients, saving money and delivering the best quality care for patients when they need it most.

For further information about this release or Better Care Together please contact or telephone 01524 518638