Royal visitors Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall have returned to Devon for a second visit to a pioneering health centre.
The Prince of Wales and his wife went on a tour of the £4m Culm Valley Integrated Centre for Health in Willand Road as part of their two-day Westcountry visit.
They arrived by helicopter and were joined by local leaders in the health and retail sectors as well as Paul Burstow MP, Minister of State for care services. Dr Michael Dixon said that it came as the surgery completed a two-year ‘self-care’ project that had been funded by the Department of Health.
The royal couple and representatives from Bupa, Santander, Waitrose, Boots and Marks & Spencer were given the chance to see ‘self-care’ aids which are used to help people where conventional medicine no longer helps.
Dr Dixon said: “What we are trying to do here is push the boat out in terms of enabling and support patients to care for themselves and to improve their own health. The meeting with the Prince, business leaders and the minister is for them to see really how we can extend this whole issue of helping patients’ ‘self-care’. In a sense, it is also about where the project goes next and how we can take it further.
“The cogs really get moving when patients set up their own groups and quite often they have discussions among themselves to support each other with long-term diseases. I think that it’s the future, the Prince does and, hopefully, we can persuade the minister that it is too.”
They also met volunteers who work with the centre including the Culm-Miss Beat group, launched by Pam Peters of Cullompton and Roger Hallam of Bradninch which aims to help people improve their confidence following cardiac issues and Sue Bradford and Mary Clarke who support people with fibromyalgia. The centre offers a range of complementary therapies for local people.