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Duke of Cornwall breaks ground for islands health and care facility

The Duke of Cornwall with staff from St Mary’s Community Hospital and St Mary’s Health Centre

The first ground has been broken for a new integrated health and social care facility on the Isles of Scilly, by none other than the Duke of Cornwall.

His Royal Highness was given a tour of St Mary's Community Hospital on Friday 10 May, before being handed a spade to do the honours.

After breaking ground to a round of applause, Prince William described the development as "exciting". He added: "I look forward to coming to see it next year".

The Duke of Cornwall breaking ground on the new Isles of Scilly Integrated Health and Social Care Facility on St Mary’s

The Duke met with staff from the hospital and St Mary's Health Centre, Council of the Isles of Scilly and partners to hear more about the challenges with delivering health and care services on the islands.

The aim is to develop and continue an integrated model of care that supports the needs of the island communities. It is hoped this will future-proof services for years to come.

Matron Lynda McHale has just completed 50 years’ service with the NHS and was among those to greet His Royal Highness:

"The Duke asked what had kept me in the job for 50 years. I told him that I love my job and one of the main reasons is because of the teams I have had the honour to work alongside over the years.

“The whole experience has been really positive and has made the new build and integration really real for the team on St Mary's and everyone on the islands".

Debbie Richards, Trust Chief Executive and Tracy Smith, Hospital Administrator welcome the Duke of Cornwall to St Mary’s Community Hospital

The Duke was shown round the community hospital by Trust Chief Executive, Debbie Richards, who described the day as special:

"The visit from His Royal Highness is a real morale boost for both health and social care staff. They have worked tirelessly to see this plan come to fruition. Without their vision and championing, we would not have got this project off the ground.

"It has been a very special day for our staff and a very special day for the islands. One of the really moving things about the day was how His Royal Highness wanted to hear from staff about the reality of delivering healthcare in such a remote setting, day in day out. His curiosity and desire to understand more is really, really welcome".

What will the new facility provide?

The facility will be located on the site of St Mary's Community Hospital and land next to St Mary's Health Centre.

It will provide 12 residential care home beds, NHS inpatient beds, a modern maternity suite. Other outpatient services will continue, including x-ray, minor injury unit, and dental and consulting rooms.

The facility will be part of a new model of care. It will provide robust services to keep people at home or close to home where clinically possible. This will include maximising digital technologies and remote support to provide more enabled care on the islands.

The Duke of Cornwall signs a special book to mark the ground breaking of the new Isles of Scilly Integrated Health and Social Care Facility on St Mary’s

The Duke also met members of the Council of the Isles of Scilly, including Councillor Robert Francis, Chairman, pictured above as His Royal Highness signed a special book to mark the occasion.

The ground breaking follows the new integrated facility having secured both planning and national funding approval.

Speaking ahead of the event, Councillor Francis described the project as central to protecting and sustaining the health and wellbeing of the whole community on the Isles of Scilly:

"The integration of health and social care services has long been considered to be the best option for the islands, as it will enable a better use of resources and easier access to the services. It will also increase the likelihood of island residents being able to stay either at home or close to home as their health and social care needs increase.

“The council is excited to continue to work with our NHS colleagues in the delivery of this landmark project. It aims to improve the quality of life available to everyone on Scilly by reducing the risk of such essential services only being available on the mainland".

The project is a collaboration between: Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Council of the Isles of Scilly; primary care; Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust; South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust; voluntary sector partners; mental health services. All partners are working in collaboration with the Duchy of Cornwall.

Read more about the project, including the timeline for delivery.

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