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Provider and regulator work together to drive improvements

CFT which is responsible for the county’s community hospitals and nursing teams, mental health, learning disability and dementia services was visited by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors in March and April 2019 as part of a focussed inspection on some of its services. The Trust was also assessed against the CQC’s Well-Led Framework.

Care Quality Commission

A planned inspection by healthcare regulator the CQC has led to improvements in services at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT).

The inspectors visited the Trust’s child and adolescent mental health services, integrated community mental health teams for adults and older people, community hospitals, minor injury units, end of life care, community health services and Garner Ward which provides inpatient dementia care.

During their visit, inspectors informally reported numerous positive examples of care; however they also made recommendations for improvement to the Trust’s oversight of its adolescent mental health services in mid and east Cornwall and the governance processes which were in place in these areas.

Managing Director, Julie Dawson commented: “Inspections by the CQC are an invaluable way to receive an independent overview and quality check of our services.

“We always take on board inspectors comments and acted quickly to respond and drive improvements across the service.

“We have worked with clinical managers, young people and families to put in place a system which provides increased oversight of the young people in mid and east Cornwall; standardising our approach across the county.

“We also strengthened our management systems and processes putting in place additional clinical managers and providing additional training for staff on areas including governance, risk management and responding to patient feedback and complaints.”

The Trust is grateful for the support that it has received from partners across the county. It looks forward with confidence to the outcome from the recent inspection and the further development of services.  


'Make May Purple’ for the Stroke Association’s month-long campaign

During May Cornwall’s dedicated Community Stroke Service took part in a series of walks, runs and cycles to ‘Make May Purple’ for the Stroke Association’s month-long awareness campaign.

Make May Purple

Many conquered the Camel Trail, with runs, walks and cycles between Wenfordbridge, Bodmin, Wadebridge and Padstow, and the Great Flat Lode in Carn Brea. Teams asked for everyone from the public to other nursing staff to join them.

Make May Purple 4

Stroke Teams raised further awareness by contributing miles with patients and representatives on the Woodfield Rehabilitation Stroke Unit by cycling and walking a total of 131.4 miles.

Additionally, the Neuro Rehab Team together with Early Support Discharge for Stroke had a cake trolley at Camborne Redruth Community Hospital which rose over £100 for the Stroke Association. 

Make May Purple 2


Team tackle Ben Nevis for young person’s mental health unit

Team at the top of Ben Nevis

A pack of brave men and women have climbed Scotland’s Ben Nevis to raise vital funds towards Cornwall’s new – and only – young people’s mental health unit.

Nine past and present team members from Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s (CFT) Digital Services team tackled the mountain which stands at a staggering 4,408 feet and is the tallest mountain in the British Isles.

A target of £5,000 was smashed and just over £6,440 has been raised by the team. The fearless climbing team included Robyn Ahearn, climb organiser and Systems Admin and Configuration Technician; Kerry Beynon, Systems Admin and Configuration Lead; Ashley Matthews, Service Desk Technician; Jo Trays, Change and Release Lead; Nicki Rayment, Head of Digital Services; Gareth Pitt, Technical Services Manager; Jeremy Hocking, Solution Architect; Robert Waggett, SQL Assistant and Cara Gilligan, Information Analyst.

Ahead of the walk, Kerry Beynon, System Admin and Configuration Lead commented: "As a mother to two young boys I could not imagine what it feels like when a loved one is miles away going through such a difficult time and not being able to support them when they need it most. Climbing Ben Nevis is something totally out of my comfort zone but being able to raise awareness of young people’s mental health and raising funds for the unit gives me the determination to achieve this. I am proud to be supporting the Appeal to ensure children can get the support they need close to home."

Jeremy Hocking, who is CFT’s Solution Architect added: “As a proud Cornishman and father of two young boys, I’m climbing Ben Nevis to help ensure that the young people of Cornwall who need help are able to get that help locally. I want to help build a brighter future for young people in our county, so I’m challenging myself to aid and honour those who face their own challenges everyday coping with a mental disorder.”

CFT will be running the brand new 14 bed Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) unit, called Sowenna, at the Bodmin Hospital site.

Since the fundraising appeal launched in September last year, vital funds have been raised to pay for ‘icing on the cake’ items. Funds like the ones raised by the Digital Services Team, will enable CFT to provide additional items and specialist areas that will really make a difference to young people’s recovery, health and wellbeing. These include: a minibus; a multipurpose activity barn for team sports and performance arts; parental accommodation to allow families to stay over; a café to allow visits with family and friends; therapeutic gardens, and equipment for music, arts and cooking.

It is hoped that these ‘icing on the cake’ items will transform Sowenna from a high quality centre to the very best in the country.

Robyn Ahearn, a Systems Admin and Configuration Technician for CFT is a keen supporter and fundraiser for the Sowenna appeal. She commented: “Being a Bodmin girl I’ve always loved our way of living down here and by building the Sowenna unit, I feel that we are finally being put on the map. The idea for climbing Ben Nevis came when I was thinking of ways to fundraise so I pitched it to the team. I have to say, people weren’t jumping around like I was at the idea but they soon came around.

“I am so proud and privileged to have been part of a great team and department like Digital Services. All along our efforts have been made aware of by the whole team and I believe I wouldn’t have made this trip without all of their support. Climbing Ben Nevis has been the hardest but most incredible achievement to date. I’m so proud of myself. We all have difficulties in life and barriers that are sent to test us but it’s those people that don’t have help that we need to push for and fight for. I hope that I have inspired others to do the same.”

To get involved in fundraising, either by organising an event or making a donation please visit or contact the Sowenna Appeal Team at


Mental health unit to unveil Crowdfunder project at RCS

Crowdfunder logo

Find out more about Cornwall’s new and very first child and adolescent mental health unit, Sowenna, at this year’s Royal Cornwall Show in Wadebridge.

Located at stand 95 and open from 8.30am to 6.30pm this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Sowenna Appeal stand will be showing a brand new film about why this unit is vital for the young people of Cornwall; how the public can get involved in fundraising; information on its ground-breaking virtual reality treatment and have staff on-hand to answer questions about Sowenna and the Appeal.

Additionally, on opening day of the show the Sowenna Appeal will be launching a new and exciting Crowdfunding project that members of the public can get involved in.

“Grow Outdoors” will aim to raise £12,000 towards the gardens at Sowenna, including sensory planting, raised beds for therapeutic horticulture, decorative floral and sensory planters, and a giant outdoor blackboard wall for art expression and therapy. 

Raised beds will be part of a young person’s therapeutic journey whilst they stay at Sowenna and will enable young people to plant, nurture and sow herbs, flowers, fruit and vegetables which can then be used for crafting, arts and cookery.

“We will be asking people to make a pledge to support this project and help us to reach our fundraising total for these gardens” commented Philippa Patterson who is the Sowenna Appeal Director.  

Philippa continued: “Sowenna will be opening towards the end of the summer and we need to raise the money to install these raised beds as soon as possible. The public can pledge anything upwards of just £10. A donation of £10 will enable us to purchase an outdoor chalk pack for five young people to use and a donation of £50 will enable us to give a young person a personalised gardening pack for their stay at Sowenna, which would include seeds, gloves and tools”

You can pledge and find out more about Grow Outdoors by visiting

Whilst visiting the Sowenna Appeal stand, members of the public can show their support using its selfie frame and pledge their support by hash-tagging on social media #Sowenna #selfieforSowenna; #SowennaAppeal #mentalhealthawarenessand #Growoutdoors.

The brand new 14 bed Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) unit will be run by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) at the Bodmin Hospital site.

Since the fundraising appeal launched in September last year, vital funds have been raised to pay for ‘icing on the cake’ items. Funds will enable CFT to provide additional items and specialist areas that will really make a difference to young people’s recovery, health and wellbeing. These include: a minibus; a multipurpose activity barn for team sports and performance arts; parental accommodation to allow families to stay over; a café to allow visits with family and friends; therapeutic gardens, and equipment for music, arts and cooking.

It is hoped that these ‘icing on the cake’ items will transform Sowenna from a high quality centre to the very best in the country.

Sir Tim Smit, who is co-founder of the world-famous Eden Project and ambassador of the Sowenna Appeal commented: “It is essential for us all that we nurture institutions that deliver hugs and a nurturing culture to offer a helping hand to those who have so much yet to give. Most of us know that but for a good roll of the dice it could be us, so, if it helps, think of it as offering a hand to the you that might have been and be very grateful!”


Virtual reality treatment at new CAHMS unit

It has been announced today that Cornwall’s very first Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) unit will feature a sensory room to host innovative virtual reality environments to help young people during periods of emotional distress.

Sowenna VR

Ahead of the NHS Five Year Forward View, the new 14 bed Sowenna unit means that soon children and adolescents will have access to specialist mental health beds in the county. This initiative delivers on NHS England’s commitment to reduce out of area placements for children and young people by increasing bed numbers nationally by 10%.

Virtual reality (VR) is not just being used for gaming. Already studies have shown that VR can be beneficial in helping to treat a whole-host of mental health conditions, including easing phobias, treating post-traumatic stress disorder, helping to lessen paranoia in psychotic disorders and reducing social anxiety.

With young British adolescents having been deemed “extreme internet users”, using technological advances will provide a unique opportunity to engage young people in with their treatment and potentially revolutionise the way in which young people can manage their mental health.

Young people in Sowenna will be offered a choice of guided mindfulness exercises with a member of staff or the use of the VR sensory environment as part of their treatment. They will be able to touch, feel, walk around or even lie down during their five minute long experience, which will be supervised by a clinician at all times.

Patients will be asked to fill in a short questionnaire before about how they are feeling and then again afterwards. The work undertaken will be supported by a research study to determine whether this new method of mindfulness has had a significant improvement in the mental wellbeing of the young person.

The work to develop the VR project is being undertaken by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) who will be running Sowenna, and Falmouth University who will supply the technical environments. Triangular Pixles of Bude have been appointed build specialists for the VR environments, and Young People Cornwall, who have been instrumental from the start of the Sowenna build, will be co-designing the VR sensory environments and providing the user experience group.

 “The purpose is to use the sensory environments to help young people tackle their mental health issues in a more effective way than ever before. By creating the VR sensory environments, patients are able to experience more calming surroundings to help them deal with the issues that they face. We would expect patient’s heart rates and anxiety levels to be lowered at a faster rate than the traditional time spent in a static sensory environment” commented Dr Liz Myers, CFT’s Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist/Clinical Director of Children's Services.

The sensory room build and VR project will cost £25,000. It has been generously funded by The Invictus Trust, VerseOne and Carew Pole Trust.

To find out more about virtual reality at Sowenna, please watch this video:


Swinging into the 60s for Dementia Action Week

Swinging into the 60s for Dementia Action Week

During May, staff at St Austell Community Hospital transported back to the swinging 60's for Dementia Action Week. 

Staff transformed the hospital's Adult Speech and Language Therapy waiting area and went back to the 1960's with a wall of fame quiz and a childhood staff memory wall quiz. Staff dressed up for the week and played music from the era for all to enjoy.

There was also a retro sweet hamper available with proceeds going to Creative Spaces - a sensory trust project which supports people living with dementia and their families and carers in rural Cornish communities. 


Digital x-ray equipment comes to Mid, North and East Cornwall

An exciting programme of investment is bringing digital x-ray equipment to St Austell, Bodmin and Stratton hospitals over the coming year.

SACH Digital x-ray room

Digital x-ray equipment is modern, efficient imaging technology that enables faster patient throughput and, importantly, reduces patient ionising radiation dose. The x-ray equipment replacement project at these community hospitals is allied to Cornwall’s Shaping Our Future strategy, improving care closer to home and digitising x-ray services throughout the county.

The x-ray services in community hospitals are critical to the work undertaken in Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) and support outpatient clinics and referrals from GPs in these locations, preventing the need for patients to make long journeys to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

The project began with the installation of a new DR Philips x-ray unit in one of the two x-ray rooms at St Austell hospital in the Autumn last year, replacing equipment that was more than 10 years old with modern, high speed, low dose x-ray technology.

Jane Downie, St Austell Link Specialist Radiographer said, “The replacement project went really smoothly and the new equipment and is a delight to use. It is much easier for the Radiographers as high quality digital images are produced in seconds, enabling us to check our work very quickly which is really helpful when patients are in pain.”

The next step sees work get underway to install a new DR Philips x-ray at Bodmin Community Hospital with the unit scheduled to be operational by Monday 5 August 2019.

To enable the new installation, imaging services will be significantly reduced at the Bodmin Hospital site between Friday 31 May and 5 August.  X-ray examinations will be limited to upper limb from elbow to fingers and lower limb from knee to toes during this period.

Plans are in place for the Bodmin MIU, outpatient clinics and local GPs to advise them where their patients needing x-rays should be directed whilst the new x-ray equipment is being installed. Alternative x-ray facilities will be available at Newquay and St Austell Community hospitals Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00 hours.

Neil Jones, Bodmin Link Specialist Radiographer says “Whilst it is going to be inconvenient for patients and staff for the 8 weeks the x-ray room at Bodmin is out of action, it will be well worth it. Bodmin x-ray department has a very high throughput of patients every day and the new, faster technology means that we will be future-proofed for the years ahead.”

Next will be the replacement of the x-ray equipment at Stratton Community Hospital in Bude to support the outpatient and minor injury unit services there. This installation has been made possible following an extraordinarily generous donation from The Friends of Stratton Hospital. The current equipment at the hospital is 20 years old and has been ready for replacement for some time. Detailed project planning is underway and the staff at the hospital can’t wait for digital imaging to arrive in the North of the County.

Gail Morwood, Stratton Link Specialist Radiographer says ’This new x-ray equipment is much needed and, being digital, the x-rays we take here in Stratton can be viewed and reported by the Consultant Radiologists and Specialists based at Royal Cornwall Hospital without delay. The digital x-ray equipment will ensure that modern imaging services will continue to be provided at Stratton Hospital for many years to come.’

Emma Spouse, RCHT Imaging Services Manager added, ‘The healthcare community is very grateful to the Stratton Hospital Friends for their very generous donation to fund the new digital x-ray equipment. Their kind gift has definitely enabled this project to happen and will provide up-to-date imaging technology for local people in Bude and surrounds, within the next 12 months.’

These three projects are great example of the way acute, community, commissioning, voluntary and private sector organisations are working together to deliver brilliant services for patients and local communities.


Brilliant new facilities on the way at Helston Birth Centre

There’s great news for parents in Helston and the surrounding area as work is underway on a refurbishment of the Birth Centre at Helston Community Hospital.

Birth Centre

“This is a really exciting investment as part of RCHT’s Better Births project,” explains RCHT’s Head of Midwifery, Jane Urben. “We want to offer women and parents as much choice as possible and we know that having a homely and relaxed atmosphere can support a less stressful experience and reduces the likelihood of clinical interventions.

“Following the opening of the Birth Centre in Truro, and with improved facilities and a re-established 24-hour midwife service at Penrice in St Austell, we now want to make sure women in the West of the county have local access to a similarly welcoming and up-to-date Birth Centre.”

The Birth Centre at Helston will have a new, more comfortable birth pool and better parent facilities and will be an ideal choice for low risk births where new mums and their partner will stay for a few hours before returning to the comfort of their own home.

Although the extensive nature of the building work does mean the Helston Birth Centre is currently closed to births, the midwives are still supporting home births in the area and parents can also use the Birth Centre in Truro if they wish.  It is due to reopen towards the end of the summer, when the team of midwives and midwifery support workers is looking forward to a relaunch and open day.

Jane added, “Once the work is completed we’ll be holding a community celebration, inviting parents and families to see the brilliant new environment where they will be able to receive care during pregnancy, birth and for support afterward.”


Frailty study underway to help older people live healthier lives

Helen Lyndon, head of the HAPPI study

“Frailty can be a distressing but not inevitable part of getting older. Although statistics show that people are living longer, they are not necessarily living healthier” says Helen Lyndon.

Helen is a Nurse Consultant for Older People at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and a Clinical Doctoral Academic Research Fellow. She has devised a major new study, supported and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which she hopes will change the way elderly people with frailty are cared for in the community.  

To help older people live healthier lives, Helen’s new study, HAPPI (Holistic Assessment and care Planning in Partnership Intervention), will develop, implement and test a nurse-led intervention to improve healthy living in older people with frailty.

In 2050, one in three of the world’s population will be over 65 and one in 10 will be over 80. Recent published NHS figures from the establishment of electronic frailty index state that of the average 7,000 patients per GP practice, around 30 to 100 will be moderately frail. However, other studies have demonstrated prevalence figures of 25 to 50% of those aged 80 years and over.

People who are frail may feel more tired and weak than normal, have trouble getting around, lose weight and feel that they are slowing down. Frailty progresses over a period of five to 15 years and may lead to losing independence, hospital admissions and moving to a care home.

This does not mean that all hope is lost. Research has suggested that it may be possible to support older people to manage frailty like any other long term condition. “If recognised early, we can provide care and support that may delay or prevent negative effects of frailty so that older people can retain their independence and quality of life. To do this, people need effective support at home from health services such as their GP, community and practice nurses” added Helen.

The first part of the HAPPI study saw a nurse survey explore their views on care for frail older people in the community and to identify the training needs and skills that nurses need to deliver effective care. By doing this Helen was able to develop a care plan based on the individual needs of frail older people that can be used by their nurses and their carers.

The second part of the study which is currently ongoing, involves Helen undertaking a small 60 person trial to test the new care plan, including frailty assessment and evaluation, to see if it is practical and achievable. In this part of the study, there are a group of patients who will receive the new care plan by community matrons and a group who will receive care as usual. To be included in the trial patients must be 65 or over and moderately or severely frail.

The final part of the project will see care givers talk to frail patients, carers and nurses to explore their experiences of participating in the trial. The information gathered during the project will be used to inform a future clinical trial to ensure the methods used are fit for purpose.

“We know that once people are aged 80 years and over, between a quarter and a half will show some of the signs of frailty” commented Helen. “Therefore, it is important that we understand the causes and how best to manage the condition for the future.

“Frailty cannot be cured, so we need to understand how to empower people to live well with it. Our research aims to explore how people can be best supported at home and how community nurses need to work to provide individualised support. We want to explore if we can improve outcomes for patients enabling them to live at home, improve wellbeing, prevent falls and reduce the need for hospital care.”

Alongside the HAPPI study, Helen is currently undertaking a PhD at Plymouth University as part of a Clinical Academic Doctoral Research Fellowship.

This study is part of the Shaping our Future transformation programme that is bringing together the NHS, social care and public health across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to achieve positive and genuine improvement in health and social care delivery.   


Mental health in-patients to benefit from walking project

Walking group landscape

Mental health in-patients now have the opportunity to be involved in a Green Walking Project.

Cornwall Foundation Trust (CFT) has been selected along with eight other sites to take part in a nationwide Green Walking Project to increase in-patients’ engagement with the outdoors, in particular increasing access to green space.

The Green Walking Project aims to promote and improve access to green spaces for adult psychiatric in-patients, including the opportunity to enjoy the company of others, explore photography, mindfulness and other creative pursuits on their walk. It has been funded by the Network for Social Change and delivered by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare in partnership with the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT).

As with many in-patients, their care may include involuntary hospitalisations for extended periods and often under circumstances with limited access to the natural world. Walking groups can be an achievable means for wards and hospitals to provide their in-patients with the benefits of spending time in green spaces.

Occupational Therapy staff from Longreach House in Redruth will be leading the group for those receiving in-patient care on Carbis and Perran wards. They will also be looking for patient feedback to in-put into the Green Walking Project’s green walking guide. This guide will look to summarise the experience of those who have taken part to inspire other Trusts to start walking groups of their own.

Lesley Martin, CFT’s Professional Lead Occupational Therapist for In-patient and Targeted Services is a supporter of the Green Walking Project. “We are absolutely thrilled about CFT being part in this innovative project. The Green Walking Project supported walking group gives Longreach House the opportunity to use its adjacent green space to help in-patients engage with the outdoors. The walking group provides further opportunity to evidence the value-adding role that the outdoors has on mental health and at a low financial cost.

“With support from RCPSYCH and RCOT, we have an opportunity to think creatively about how best to use green spaces nearby. For example, the Green Walking Project allows us to consider how best to promote a patient sense of belonging by offering possibilities for shared experience of going walking in a group.”

Dr Jacob Krzanowski, Project Co-ordinator for the CSH, adds: “At its core, the Green Walking Project seeks to promote greater access to natural spaces for those of us receiving treatment for their mental health in hospital. It is based on growing evidence which supports longstanding intuitions that time spent in natural spaces is beneficial.

“With many hospital sites having green areas relatively close to wards, it is our hope that such spaces will be more readily integrated into regular care. We are, therefore, touched and encouraged by the commitment expressed by CFT and participant Trusts. Of course we very much look forward to working closely with Longreach House and CFT in the months to come with the hope of sharing the experience to support future similar work nationwide.”

For more information, visit

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