Baroness Jolly spoke of her experiences of the NHS in rural Cornwall delivering, as well as being a recipient of, services. On returning to the UK after a career overseas, Baroness Jolly joined an NHS trust board and later chaired a Primary Care Trust in Cornwall managing a £120 million budget.
More recently she has worked for Macmillan Cancer Support. ‘It was difficult delivering services in such a rural environment, especially ensuring that services are linked as seamlessly as possible with our social services. Not a year went by when we did not have to find savings to be passed on to services,’ she explained.
Experience of the NHS ‘in action for real’ came when her father suffered a heart attack. 'An ambulance arrived in 15 minutes,' Baroness Jolly said. His ECG had been emailed ahead to the cardiac unit by the ambulance crew. He was in ward that 'resembled the bridge from the starship "Enterprise."'
Her Cornwall PCT did not run or commission services in the same way as London, she said: 'We were committed to a comprehensive service that is available to all, free at the point of use and based on need and not on the ability to pay. We took into consideration local issues - rurality, sparcity, atypical demographics and huge population increases in the summer.'
Concluding her speech, Baroness Jolly expressed her hope that in 'reframing' the NHS, 'every care and consideration' would be given to 'service delivery and, more importantly, to appropriate and adequate funding for far-flung remote rural areas, such as Cornwall.'
Lord Turnberg tabled the question for short debate on the steps the Government are taking to ensure that the proposed changes to the National Health Service will not damage front-line and specialised services. Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Health responded on behalf of the Government.
The term 'maiden speech' refers to the first time a new Member gives a speech in the House of the Lords. A maiden speech normally takes place during a general debate and is uncontroversial.
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