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Invictus Trust donate £100,000 to the Sowenna Appeal

Invictus Trust Cafe Sowenna

The memory of a teenager continues to shine brightly as the charity set up in his name donates £100,000 to support the young people at Sowenna – Cornwall’s first adolescent mental health unit.

The family of Ben Cowburn set up the charity Invictus Trust, to raise funds and awareness for teenage mental health in Cornwall, after the teenager took his life back in 2010.

At the beginning of February, Invictus Trust donated nearly a further £30,000 to the Sowenna Appeal, taking their total contributions to a whopping £100,000.

The charity has supported the development of a mental health unit specifically for adolescents in Cornwall since the very beginning and been the driving force behind making that dream a reality.

Barbara Vann, Chair at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust commented: “We are delighted to have received a substantial amount of money from the Invictus Trust. Their support throughout this whole journey has been vital in helping to achieve our fundraising goal, and giving the young people in our care the very best support. Thank you to all of the people in Cornwall who have contributed to the Invictus fundraising and those who continue to support Sowenna.”

Steve Cowburn, Invictus Trust Trustee said: “The Invictus Trust is proud to have donated £100,000 to Sowenna, to help add the ‘icing on the cake’ and to help ensure that this world class facility for the young people of Cornwall and their families can continuously improve.

“Following the death of our 18-year-old son in 2010, our family founded the Invictus Trust, campaigning both for the reduction in stigma for adolescent mental health issues and the improvement of services in Cornwall. Since we founded the Anchor Fund, we have financially supported over 20 families a year whose children have been cared for out of Cornwall and often many hundreds of miles away. Now after nine years campaigning with CFT, which has resulted in the opening of Sowenna, we hope that will be the exception and not the norm.

“Our funds have provided a minibus, equipped the café, helped start a virtual reality project, paid for sculpting lessons and equipment, and will now support the music room and offer funds for the ward manager to buy the little extras that will make the young people’s stay more enjoyable. These projects add value over and above the excellent work the staff are doing in a wonderful new building with so many attractive features not found elsewhere in the country – it is truly world class.”

Sculptor, Richard Austin, said: “The discussions we have in each sculpting session show great emotional intelligence, understanding and compassion. This is much more than just playing with clay.”

“We are very proud to have contributed and will continue to do so with our campaign now to extend the care offered to be from 13-25 years in line with the NHS Plan and hopefully to be the first in the country to achieve it,” Steve Cowburn continued.

“We would like to thank our amazing supporters who have raised the funds and the staff and Sowenna Appeal Board for their incredible work and openness to working together for the good of all.”

The £11 million Sowenna, which means ‘success and welfare’ in Cornish, unit opened in September 2019. Sowenna has 14 beds and offers specialist in-patient mental health support for children and adolescents between 13 and 18 years old.

Find out more about Sowenna here and support the appeal at


Public told ‘act FAST’ as NHS uses artificial intelligence to speed up stroke care


The NHS is today urging anyone who thinks they or a loved one have symptoms of the killer condition not be put off seeking help because of coronavirus but to ‘act FAST’.

NHS staff have worked hard to ensure anyone who needs stroke care can safely get it despite the biggest public health emergency in over a century.

And ahead of statistics out today which are likely to show that A&E attendances fell significantly in April, top doctors are urging people who may be having a stroke to come forward for care as soon as possible.

One trust has rapidly adopted an AI (Artificial Intelligence) tool to enable them to speed up decision making and treatment despite dealing with coronavirus.

AI solutions are being rolled out across the NHS to support clinical decision making on life-changing treatments including mechanical thrombectomy, a procedure which can prevent long-term disability and enable more people to be independent after their stroke.

The new AI tool allows doctors to view patient scans remotely on an app and make better and faster decisions on the right treatment options for their patients.

However, senior medics are concerned that people are putting off getting help when they need it due to coronavirus worries.

As part of the Help Us Help You campaign the NHS is therefore urging the public to continue to act F.A.S.T. and dial 999 when stroke strikes.

Services across the country have been restructured to reduce the risk of patients being exposed to, or passing on infection in hospital.

Plans were also set out to ensure people could continue to get care even if local ambulance and hospital teams were put under much more severe pressure than has been the case.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “If you or a loved one are experiencing the symptoms of a stroke or another killer condition you should seek help as you always would – NHS staff have worked hard to ensure you can get it safely.

“The virus will be with us for some time and that means hospitals will be treating thousands of patients, but at the same time it is great to see cutting edge technologies like AI scans being brought in despite the coronavirus pandemic, to help speed up brain imaging and ensure quicker access to life saving treatment.”

Early results show the tool has significantly increased the proportion of patients who have received timely and potentially life-saving treatment.

Encouraging use of this technology was initially set out in the NHS’ Long Term Plan, published last year, as one of a series of measures designed to improve brain saving treatments, save thousands more lives and save more people from life-long disability.

Dr Deb Lowe, NHS national clinical director for stroke, said: “While NHS staff have rightly gone over and above to respond to the global coronavirus pandemic, providing safe, world-class treatment for killer conditions like stroke has always been a priority.

“Because of that incredible effort from all our doctors, nurses and therapy teams, the NHS has been able to provide care for everyone who has urgently needed it, but my fellow clinicians and I have been really worried that the number of people coming forward for stroke care at the right time has gone down.

“So if you or a loved one experience stroke symptoms, please help us help you, act FAST, and call 999. Our expert paramedics, stroke nurses, radiologists and doctors will ensure you get the care you need as quickly as possible.”

Stroke is a life-threatening condition that often results in people being taken by ambulance to A&E for emergency treatment where time is of the essence.

The quality of care and survival rates for stroke in the NHS care has been improving over recent years, with the organisation of stroke care , and the roll out of new treatments like mechanical thrombectomy – a type of minimally invasive surgery to remove blood clots from the brain.

As the coronavirus pandemic set in, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust fast-tracked the use of an AI tool so they could make faster and better decisions about treatment for stroke patients.

The AI tool, allows hospital staff to share scans quickly with on call stroke physicians so they can advise the teams on the best course of treatment, without a delay that could impact on the patient’s outcomes.

The app uses AI to help read and interpret the scans, enabling doctors to make better and informed decisions about the right course of treatment for each patient.

Whilst attendance with stroke like symptoms at Royal Berkshire fell by a third during March and April, of those who did attend and were diagnosed with a stroke a higher proportion of patients than previously received life changing surgery – an increase of 43 per cent.

Since the beginning of March Royal Berkshire has processed over 150 scans using the AI system, helping many patients get faster treatment.

Dr Kiruba Nagaratnam, consultant stroke physician and geriatrician, and clinical lead for stroke medicine at the RBH, said: “This work has revolutionised the way we traditionally reviewed scans and made treatment decisions when we are on call.

“It has also bypassed the ED physician and radiologist involvement, particularly on weekends. We have already used this to refer patients for life changing thrombectomy surgery on weekends with decisions made remotely.”

Juliet Bouverie, Chief Executive at the Stroke Association said: “It’s fantastic news that expert stroke teams are able to use the latest emerging technologies to treat stroke, but they need you to get to hospital as soon as possible to minimise the damage that stroke can bring. Don’t delay. If you spot the signs of a stroke, please Act FAST and call 999.

“I know that many people are worried about coronavirus but I’ve been reassured by the UK’s leading stroke doctors that their teams are ready to ensure that you get the right treatment. We’ve been working with the NHS to ensure that when you leave hospital, you get support despite the current restrictions so that no one is left feeling abandoned or isolated as you start to rebuild your life. If you or your loved ones are experiencing any one of the signs of stroke, the best thing for you and the NHS, is to call 999 and say you’re having a stroke.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“It’s absolutely vital people anyone experiencing symptoms of a stroke seeks urgent medical assistance, and the FAST campaign continues to lives.

“The NHS has faced an unprecedented challenge during this pandemic and it’s hugely impressive to see Trusts continuing to improve patient care through innovation.

“Bringing the benefits of technology to patients and staff is more important than ever, and we are investing in making the NHS a world leader in saving lives through artificial intelligence.”

The F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) acronym is a simple test to help people identify the most common signs of a stroke, and emphasises the importance of acting quickly by calling 999

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time to call 999


GPs and pharmacies across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will be available for anyone who needs care and treatment during the early May bank holiday

Bank Holiday Open Hours

People who need a GP appointment on Friday 8 May, which marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day, are asked to contact the surgery either by telephone or online contact forms on the practice’s website (as opposed to walking in).

All surgeries are already operating this system as part of the ongoing response to COVID-19, and will direct patients to the most appropriate way to receive advice or treatment.

Dr Iain Chorlton, chairman of NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “GPs are here for you, as always, throughout the pandemic, including this bank holiday.

“We are using new and different ways to make sure you can continue to safely receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

“Patients should contact their practice in the normal way (online or by phone) and if they need to be seen, they will be directed to their normal surgery, or, in some cases, another practice nearby.

“Our surgeries across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are geared up to see COVID and non-COVID patients without the risk of spreading infection, with some clinics adapted so they can specifically see people with COVID symptoms.”

Alongside GP surgeries, most community pharmacies will be open between 2pm and 5pm for minor ailments or advice. Some pharmacies will be open in the morning and evening during the bank holiday.

Dr Chorlton added: “As we continue to follow government guidance during the pandemic and mark the 75th anniversary of the official end of the Second World War safely in our homes, and back gardens, if we have them, there is more opportunity for minor injuries and ailments caused through DIY and gardening, so I’d also like to remind people that our minor injury units are available as usual.”

Anyone with a life threatening condition or emergency should dial 999 or visit the emergency department.

Visit or call 111 if you need help or advice outside your practices normal opening hours.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 please use the 111 online service.

Check the current availability of minor injury units here.


Food For Heroes Launches in Cornwall

Food for Heroes

A scheme launched by chefs to help provide healthy and tasty food for hard-pressed NHS workers in Yorkshire has expanded into a national effort and is due to go live in Cornwall next week.

150 ‘home cooked style’ daily ready meals – including a vegetarian option – will be initially supplied to Helston, Stratton, Launceston and Newquay Community Hospitals.  The meals will be kept in fridges on site for collection by staff members 24 hours a day.

The meals are being prepared by a team of volunteer chefs at kitchens in Rock, led by Guy Owen Executive Chef at the St Enodoc Hotel and Fee Turner of Rock based catering company Fee’s Food, supported by Tim Spedding (formerly chef at Coombeshead Farm).  Kate Holborow, The High Sheriff of Cornwall, is working with coordinator Emma Trelawny and James Strachan (owner of the St Enodoc Hotel) to roll out the scheme, in partnership with the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust. The fridges have been kindly loaned by Ginsters of Cornwall.

GuyOwen, St Enodoc               First meals

Food4Heroes, which has secured huge support already since launch on 24 March, was prompted by a heart-rending online appeal by NHS worker, Dawn Bilborough, who was unable to buy food in her local supermarket after completing a 48-hour shift. It has since won celebrity support of Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs & Dr Who Jodie Whittaker, along with chefs across the country.  To date, the charity has raised £210,000 through donations, with local teams coordinating efforts in their own areas.

Kate Holborow explains “It is wonderful to see Food4Heroes launching in Cornwall and I am hugely grateful to the enthusiastic volunteers who have stepped forward to make it happen.  The beauty of the Food4Heroes model is that the charity provides funding for each meal, meaning that whilst we are of course very reliant on our talented volunteer chefs, we are able to support local producers by sourcing locally and help keep the wheels of the local economy turning.  Food4Heroes is a great initiative and please do support to ensure we can in turn continue to support our brave NHS staff and moreover expand to other hospitals across Cornwall.”




Open for Easter - GPs and pharmacies across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will provide extra access over the bank holiday weekend

GPs and pharmacies across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will provide extra access over the bank holiday weekend

Open for Easter

  • GP practices will be open on Good Friday and Easter Monday
  • Visit or call 111 if you need help or advice outside your practices normal opening hours
  • Community pharmacies will also open on Good Friday and Easter Monday
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19 please  use the 111 online service:

As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, GPs and pharmacies have made special arrangements to ensure their services are accessible over Easter by working in close partnership with the out of hours services to make sure patients are well supported..

GP surgeries across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will be open as usual on Good Friday and Easter Monday. Since the outbreak and to help minimise the spread of COVID-19, many practices have been asking patients to contact them via phone or online contact forms on their website (as opposed to walking in) in the first instance if they need help – and this is how to contact them on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Local people are being reminded that GPs are enabling patients to speak to their doctor either online, over the phone or by video. This limits exposure and unnecessary contact.

Outside their normal practice opening hours and on Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday, out-of-hours GP services will continue to be provided in the normal way by Kernow Health CIC – the integrated urgent care service. The service can be accessed by visiting or calling 111.

Many community pharmacies will also be open on Good Friday and Easter Monday. Find your nearest pharmacy and its opening times here:

Pharmacy teams are also working around the clock to make sure customers get the medicines they need but will limit the number of people in the stores during the day, in order to keep people safe.

For full pharmacy rotas over Easter, see:

Dr Iain Chorlton, local GP and chair of NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It’s a worrying time and practices are busy, so each GP surgery will be working with neighbouring practices to run a normal weekday service on the Easter public holidays.

“This is evidence of how all of the commitment of our GPs, nurses and other vital practice staff that they are continuing to provide a crucial service at a time when they would normally be looking forward to a break – I’d like to thank them for their ongoing commitment at this challenging time.

“Patients should contact their practice in the normal way (online or by phone) and if they need to be seen, they will be directed to their normal surgery, or, in some cases, another practice in the local area.

“I’d also like to remind people that our minor injury units are available as usual, alongside 999 and the emergency department for life threatening conditions and emergencies – while we’re making changes to the way we work; we’re here for you if you are unwell.”

You can check the current availability of minor inury units here:


Truro's minor injury unit relocates as part of Covid-19 planning

Camborne Redruth

Patients coming to the Royal Cornwall Hospital’s Urgent Treatment Centre/Emergency Department in Truro with less serious illness and injury are now being redirected to Camborne-Redruth Community Hospital Minor Injury Unit for assessment and treatment.

This will allow staff at the Royal Cornwall Hospital to focus on critically unwell or injured patients at the Emergency Department, as part of our Covid19 emergency planning.

Patients with minor illness should continue to use local pharmacies, their own GP, NHS 111 and, if needed, Out of Hours GP services.

The Camborne-Redruth Community Hospital Minor Injury Unit is open 7 days a week from 8.00 am until 10.00 pm.  The postcode for satnav directions is: TR15 3ER. To access the minor injury unit, please use the outpatient department entrance, which is clearly signposted on site. 

Patients with significant limb injuries which cannot wait until the following morning can be seen overnight at the Limb Trauma Unit now open at St Michael’s Hospital in Hayle.


Over 400,000 People Join NHS Army of Volunteers in One Day

NHS Lozenge

Over 400,000 people have already signed up to volunteer for the NHS to help in its fight against coronavirus.

In just one day, the call to arms has seen a staggering 405,724 people sign up to help vulnerable people to stay safe and at home, exceeding the original target by over 100,000 people.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens praised the “overwhelming response” and thanked those who will devote their time to the health service.

Sir Simon Stevens said: “Times like this show just how generous the British people are and how much they value our health service - we are blown away by this response and the kindness of our country.

“I can’t thank those enough who have pledged to devote their time to helping others at what is a challenging and uncertain time for you and your families. The NHS is always there for you – now is your time to be there for us too.”

The volunteers will start roles from next week and help the 1.5 million who have been asked to shield themselves from coronavirus because of underlying health conditions.

Thanks to the surge of help, the NHS is now extending its target to recruit 750,000 people to its army of volunteers. People can still join the trusted list of volunteers by visiting and adding their details to the NHS section. 

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “We are truly amazed by the number of people who want to come and help us in the war against coronavirus. I would like to thank every last one of you who are offering your time – you will without a doubt help us to save lives.

“Our NHS needs you – whether it’s by volunteering or simply staying at home – you are helping your families, communities and protecting our NHS.”

Members of the public can sign up as NHS Volunteer Responders and opt to do a number of roles, including:

  • delivering medicines from pharmacies;
  • driving patients to appointments;
  • bringing them home from hospital;
  • or making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home.

The health service has joined up with the RVS and the GoodSAM app – a digital tool to help people offer their services.

Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service, Catherine Johnstone CBE said:

“In times like this you can really see the best in humanity – small gestures of compassion and connection that allow us to show who we are and what matters to us. Coronavirus has created an emergency that requires us to act, and act selflessly in order to protect the most vulnerable in our communities – no matter what our social status or who we vote for.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the number of people who have stepped forward and volunteered to be part of the NHS Volunteer Responders but we are also not surprised – Royal Voluntary Service witnessed a similar response during the outbreak of WW2 when a million women came forward to help those most in need.

“Over the past 80 years Royal Voluntary Service has been aiding the health service by mobilising volunteers to support those in need in communities and hospitals. Today we face an even greater task – and we are proud to support the NHS at this important time to protect those most vulnerable. Together we can look out for each other and in doing so support the NHS at this vital time.”  

Dr Mark Wilson, GoodSAM co-founder said: “It's fantastic to be helping the wonderful volunteer community come together to support the NHS and society in this time of need.”


Your NHS needs YOU - Join the NHS Volunteer Responders

Your NHS needs YOU - Join the NHS Volunteer Responders

NHS Volunteer Responders is a new group that will carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people in England who have been asked to shield themselves from coronavirus because of underlying health conditions. They will be used by healthcare professionals to make sure people who are highly vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) are able to stay safe and well at home.

Who can join and what are the tasks?

The NHS and social care urgently need people to join the NHS Volunteer Responders to do simple but vital tasks including driving people to and from hospital, and delivering food and medication. Volunteers will also support the NHS to transport equipment and supplies, and make regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home.

Please note, to comply with the UK’s current ‘Stay at Home’ rules you can only volunteer to carry out those tasks which involve leaving your home if you fulfil ALL of the conditions below:

  • You are well and have no symptoms like a cough or high temperature and neither does anybody in your household
  • You are under 70
  • You are not pregnant
  • You do not have any long-term health conditions that make you vulnerable to coronavirus

Guidance for those at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus can be found here [hyperlink:]

I need to stay at home – can I still help?

You can sign up as a telephone ‘check in and chat’ volunteer even if you are staying at home and you are in one of the groups listed above.

How do I join?

Just register here [hyperlink:] you will then be asked to select from a list of tasks. Once your registration and checks are complete you can download the GoodSAM Responders app. Local volunteer tasks will be pushed to your phone with an alert when you switch the app to ‘on duty’. 

Why has NHS Volunteer Responders been set up?

It is vital that health and social care teams can easily match people who need help to self-isolate with ID-checked volunteers in a managed, England-wide system. This service aims to support people who have specific health conditions which put them at high risk from coronavirus. It will be used by doctors, nurses and others where there is no alternative local support for their patients, and will help to keep hospital beds available to those who need them most.


Is this different from helping out my neighbours and local charities?

NHS Volunteer Responders is not intended to replace any local provision. It will provide a service where informal support is not available or where health and social care professionals do not have a way to refer people into those systems. It is being delivered by Royal Voluntary Service one of the country’s largest and long-standing volunteering charities.

I am clinically trained – how can I volunteer to help the NHS?

The NHS Volunteer Responders will not undertake clinical tasks. If you are clinically trained please visit:

Alternatively contact your local hospital trust.



Stratton Community Treatment Centre to re-open

Stratton MIU

A promise to bring back a pioneering overnight service at Stratton’s Community Treatment Centre will be fulfilled, thanks to the efforts of dedicated health workers and support from the community.

Back in January 2020 it was announced that the treatment centre would be moved out of Stratton until the end of February to meet the unprecedented demand in health and care services across Cornwall.

The pilot service, which was developed in partnership with the nearby community, launched last August as an innovative solution to bring back overnight services to the hospital as a result of being unable to recruit nurses back in 2017.

The overnight service will resume on Sunday 1 March and will run until 22 August 2020.

The treatment centre will continue to be staffed, as it has been since the launch of the trial, by Kernow Health CIC, which provides the urgent care service NHS 111 to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in partnership with Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

John Govett, independent chair of the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Health and Care Partnership, said: “It was necessary to temporarily close the Stratton Community Treatment Centre during the very busy winter period to ensure that the needs of the whole county were met and services were available where there was the greatest demand.

“Behind the scenes everyone across health and care has been working not only to provide the highest and safest of services to people who need treatment but also to make sure we can get back to business as usual as quickly as possible. I’m delighted that we are able to fulfil the promise we made to re-open Stratton’s overnight service.

“I would like to thank everyone across the health and care partnership for their commitment dealing with the recent unprecedented demand and also the people of Stratton for their understanding and patience during this time.”

Julie Dawson, managing director of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have always remained committed to making sure the overnight service returned to Stratton and thanks to the combined efforts of everyone we are pleased to say that the service will return on 1 March for residents living in Stratton and the north of the county as well as our neighbours over the border in Devon until the 22 August.”

The trial service offers:

  • Expert senior clinician whose skills extend beyond a traditional minor injury practitioner
  • Appointments for people from Stratton, Bude and the surrounding area who have an appointment to be seen by an out of hours service after contacting NHS 111.
  • Treat patients who need to attend the centre with a minor injury out of hours.

The Stratton Minor Injury Unit has been open as usual throughout from 8am to 10pm every day and X-ray from 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday. In addition support remains available from NHS 111 and in emergencies or life threatening situations 999.

The community treatment centre service will be evaluated and if successful plans for a permanent service at Stratton will be explored.


Official opening of Falmouth Community Hospital’s day unit after refurbishment

Falmouth hospital day unit opening

Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) and The League of Friends of the Falmouth Hospital  celebrated the opening of the newly refurbished day unit on Wednesday 19 February 2020, which was officially opened by Barbara Vann, Trust Chair.

£12,000 was raised by the League of Friends to modernise the existing space and meet the growing demand for the services offered at the unit.


Falmouth Open Day Barbara, Dot and Sarah

The day unit is a purpose built facility designed to look after 4 patients at any one time without requiring an overnight stay.

It offers services such as blood transfusions, various infusions, Central Venous Catheter (CVC) line care (PICC lines, Hickman lines), catheter care and dressings.

The majority of patients who will benefit from the unit live in and around Falmouth; however, patients from other parts of Cornwall are also welcome to use the services when unable to access services closer to their homes.

Sarah Raymont, Falmouth Community Hospital team lead for the day unit, said: ”Patients have already commented on how lovely and friendly the unit is and how grateful they are to have such a valuable facility on their doorstep.

“Recently, one patient likened the unit and its staff to a ‘calm oasis in an otherwise huge ocean of treatment’.

“We may only be a small part of their overall journey but for us seeing patients happy and relaxed especially when some have been through so much is our ultimate goal.”

Patients are referred via the Royal Cornwall Hospital or their GP. There is flexibility to allow patients to drop in if required, for example, for blood tests, issues with dressings and catheters. The unit is open from Monday to Friday from 8am to 4.30pm.


Falmouth Open Day group

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