The Duchy Health Charity

supporting Cornwalls health and well-being

The Duchy Health Charity’s purpose is to help improve health and health care in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

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Latest News

Ian Hamilton FRCS

It is with great regret that we learnt of the death of Ian Hamilton who was one of the most influential past Trustees of the Duchy Health Charity and a co-founder of The Duchy Hospital.

40 years ago a number of leading medical consultants at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Treliske met to discuss their vision of founding a private hospital in Cornwall. Elsewhere in the UK major cities and towns had private provision responding to the Government’s decision to remove all private beds from National Health Hospitals.

Major businesses were supporting their staff with private health cover but in Cornwall there were no facilities. This also reduced the attraction of young consultants to the County, threatened   consultants in post and the NHS in Cornwall.

Ian was a major player in raising funds to achieve the vision and together we worked on ideas and designs for marketing and sponsorship materials. By 1979 the foundation stone was laid for what we now know is The Duchy Hospital.

On 1 March 1981 Ian joined the Chairman of the Governing body, local surveyor and a former  Mayor of Truro, Jim Beeching, together with Robert Robins and John Cooper, to be presented to the late HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who opened the hospital.

After 9 years the original buildings and equipment needed major investment and it was decided to sell the Duchy Hospital to a private management team for a sum in excess of £5m.

Because the original funding came from the public’s generosity it was decided to place the proceeds into a charitable fund for the benefit of healthcare and wellbeing for future Cornish generations and the Duchy health Charity was born.

Ian became a trustee for a number of years and was an active member following his retirement. He was contributing historical memories and correcting my manuscript right up to his death.

Samuel Gordon Ian Hamilton FRCS died suddenly, at home in Truro, on Friday 28 October 2016. He leaves behind his wife Caroline, sons Simon and his wife Linda, Mick and his wife Clare and daughter Suzy, together with six grandchildren.

The funeral was held in Truro on Friday 11 November 2016.

He asked that donations, in memory, are to be for the benefit of the Duchy Health Charity Limited c/o

Ian’s history can be seen on this site under the heading A story of parallels: Why the Chough is our Charity symbol

Tim Guy Trustee November 2016

Helford Sailing Trust celebrates
new fleet of little ships

An inspirational children’s charity which has taught thousands of Cornish youngsters to sail in the safety of the beautiful Helford River will be adding seven new boats to its impressive fleet on Wednesday 6 April – thanks to more than £30,000 of funding support from the Duchy Health Charity, Trinity House and five Cornish businesses.

Photo gallery...

Next stage for W(h)ither
the NHS in Cornwall

A Task & Finish Group has been assembled to take the 'Public Engagement' programme forward. The following animated presentation has been prepared for all interested parties to explain the next actions including a condensed version of Sir John Tooke's lecture.


Cross-Cornwall Festive Thanks for the Duchy Health Charity

The Duchy Health Charity has had its own post-bag of festive good wishes from organisations it has been able to help this year to transform hundreds of lives across Cornwall.

Paul Simmons and Minnie Black power-boating with Mylor Sailibility

Among 24 grants this year ranging from £400 to £20,000 DCH has supported Mylor Sailability’s sailing sessions for people with disabilities and an extra physiotherapist for the Merlin MS Centre, as well as improved facilities at Mount Edgcumbe Hospice and Sensory Trust outings for people with dementia.


A new lead for a new era

At the Autumn Board meeting on 19 October 2015 Dr John Hyslop stood down as Chair of the Charity after six years in office and Dr Barbara Vann was unanimously elected to lead the Board during a period when there are likely to be important changes in the pattern of healthcare provision in Cornwall & The Isles of Scilly.


Sir John Tooke - Duchy Health Charity President's Lecture 2015 - W(h)ither the NHS

Professor Sir John Tooke, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, founder of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry for the South West and adviser to governments was the keynote speaker for the Duchy Health Charity’s ‘President’s Lecture’ on 28 September 2015 at Cornwall Council’s Chamber. In his Lecture, W(h)ither the NHS, he revealed his vision for the future of the NHS for the South West and beyond, with a fully-integrated healthcare system which puts the citizen at its heart. He said Cornwall’s Unitary Authority status and potential for devolved budget powers created a golden opportunity to make the radical and urgent changes required to make its healthcare system fit and sustainable for the 21 Century….


Cornwall at vanguard of radical healthcare reform

Cornwall’s Unitary Authority status and potential for devolved budgetary powers puts it in prime position to make the radical and urgent changes required to make healthcare sustainable and fit for purpose in the 21st Century.

This declaration was made by leading healthcare academic Professor Sir John Tooke giving the 2015 President’s Lecture for the Duchy Health Charity (DHC) and revealing his vision for a fully-integrated healthcare system across the UK which strips out layers of bureaucracy and puts the citizen at its heart.


President's Lecture 2015

One of the UK’s most eminent healthcare leaders will reveal a vision for the future of the NHS in the South West and beyond when he gives the 2015 President’s Lecture for the Duchy Health Charity, co-sponsored by the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter.
Professor Sir John Tooke, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, who was instrumental in creating the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry for the South West*, will talk of the history and iconic status of the NHS which makes very difficult any constructive debate on the radical changes necessary to make it fit for the future.



Sensory Trust Volunteer Ethan Gerry and a client enjoy a trip to Heligan Gardens

A Cornish project which supports people with dementia and their carers in isolated rural communities has won £10,000 backing for its work from the Duchy Health Charity.

The Creative Spaces scheme – run by the St Austell-based charity Sensory Trust –  helps people affected by dementia to get out and about and enjoy an active life within their community.

Sensory Trust brings related organisations together including Age UK, the St Austell Memory Café and Memory Matters South West to spread the word that help – and a series of interesting activities and get-togethers – are at hand.



Click here to view other news and press releases in our blog!





Arthur Hollman Lecture
audio recording


Cornubia Launch
video recording


WFA - Celtic Storm
video recording

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  Company number: 1268926 | Registered charity number: 271957
PATRON H.R.H. Prince Charles, The Duke of Cornwall