A proposed health and wellbeing centre in Camelford could become a pilot for Cornwall Council investing in health practices in the future.
Cornwall Council’s Cabinet has given the thumbs up for a study that will investigate whether the Council should invest in premises that could then be rented to local health practices. The aim is to safeguard essential local services while also making a return on the investment that could then be used to fund other services in Cornwall.
If the business case stacks up, Camelford’s proposed health and wellbeing hub could become the first health practice in Cornwall to be funded in this way. The Council has actively supported the ambitions of the Camelford Community Network Panel, the Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS England, Camelford Town Council and local GPs to develop a new health and wellbeing hub for the town. The project has already secured £780,000 of Estates Transformation and Technology Funding, a £9,000 Awards for All grant from the Big Lottery Fund and £9,000 from Cornwall Council to cover business planning and design of the centre. The feasibility work is initially being funded from the One Public Estate bid, secured as part of the Cornwall Deal.
Jeremy Rowe, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Localism, said: “We’re keen to take a more outward looking approach to the Council’s property portfolio. We want to focus on opportunities that contribute to economic development and support the wellbeing and capacity of our communities while also generating income to replace the shortfall in government funding.
“Currently GPs either rent premises in the private sector or have to take out a mortgage to purchase a surgery. Initiatives such as the Council investing in health premises have the potential to keep public sector money in the public sector where it can be reinvested in local services.”
Cornwall Councillor Rob Rotchell, who chairs the Camelford Health and Wellbeing Hub Steering Group, said: “This is excellent news for Camelford. Our town is growing and changing, and we’d like to see our local health services keep pace with those changes. We also want to a wider range of services available in Camelford, such as a dentist and an optician, so people don’t have to travel as far to get the care they need. The Council’s feasibility study will help us to develop a viable way forward and could lead to us piloting the new scheme of Council investment in health premises.”