Safety in schools is our top priority and we are constantly working to ensure our schools are world-leading and safe places to learn. That is why we have set out new guidance for schools affected by Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC), taking the precautionary and proactive step of asking the affected settings that have not yet put mitigations in place to vacate relevant spaces, keeping children safe as we work to deliver safety improvements in these schools. We are working round the clock to ensure disruption to pupils’ education is kept to the absolute minimum as we rapidly deliver the necessary improvements to keep all our students safe. At the time of writing, no schools in North Cornwall have been identified by the Department for Education as being affected. I will of course be monitoring the situation and if things change, I will let my constituents know.
I was very pleased to be able to sit down with Smile Dental Care in Bodmin during the week to discuss what support they need to enable the delivery of more NHS dental services in North Cornwall. The contractual situation around NHS dentistry has long been an issue, and I am glad that there have been positive changes in the way the contract works delivered under this government. Dentists I speak to see the changes as a good first step, but there is a lot of work to do, especially around the way each dental appointment is registered and delivered. There will be further amendments coming to the NHS dental contract that I hope will continue to improve the situation. We also discussed issues around recruitment, training, and retention of dental staff in North Cornwall. As regular readers of my page will know, I have been a strong advocate of keyworker housing as part of new developments, as housing is a major barrier to recruitment.
Dentistry was also on the agenda when I hosted my regular meeting with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Health Board. The board has now taken over responsibility for dentistry from NHS England, which I feel is a positive step, as it will ensure a more localised delivery of services. GP services were also on the agenda, and I made a strong case for ensuring that local people in North Cornwall have the option to see their GPs face to face. This is something that has come up repeatedly on the doors this summer, and although people in North Cornwall understand the pressures their surgeries are under, the inability to secure face-to-face appointments at some practices is a concern.
I am currently running a survey to find out your views and priorities for North Cornwall. If you would like to take part, please visit https://www.scottmann.org.uk/tell-me-your-views. Paper copies of the survey can be made available on request by telephoning 01208 74337.