By Andy Hargreaves

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Our islands’ MP says Scilly shouldn’t worry about losing its independence following the new devolution deal for Cornwall, announced earlier this month.

There has been concern that because the islands receive many of their services from both Cornwall Council and the Kernow NHS Commissioning Group, any move to devolve power to the county could leave Scilly out on a limb.

But Derek Thomas says the islands need to “maintain their autonomy and be in charge of their own affairs,” which he says is completely in line with what the government wants.

And he wants all the relevant stakeholders, such as local transport groups, to be involved in that debate.

“It’s not about grouping authorities,” he says, but “giving power to people.”

Derek says the government wants to give more power to local people to decide how services are run. And he says that means less responsibility for Cornwall Council, not more.

The main area of devolution, in health and social care, is about “pooling the funding available” he says, and there are discussions about NHS Kernow handling that money, so they can provide “seamless care” for patients.

And any new body will have elected representatives from both Scilly and Cornwall.

Derek says his discussions with Scilly’s Council has focused on how better use can be made of the hospital on St Mary’s and the local health professionals.

He says there’s no intention, “to break things up further” and he wants to make sure that Scilly isn’t left out of the debate on how best to integrate health and social care services.