Campaigners unhappy about Poltair hospital options
Campaigners unhappy about Poltair hospital options
The Cornishman John Williams, Wednesday December 4th 2013
A leading health campaigner says she is “very concerned for the residents of West Penwith” over the options outlined for the future of a local community hospital. Poltair Hospital has been closed since October of last year and Monday will see the start of the public consultation period when the proposals will be available for the public to look at and comment on. But, having already seen the proposals, West Cornwall Healthwatch co-ordinator Marna Blundy says: “It is now even more vital that people take an active part in the consultation exercise which is about to begin.” Initially 10 options for how best Poltair’s community health services should be delivered were identified but five of them have already been discarded on the grounds of affordability or safety. Using Poltair for outpatient, outreach and inpatient services (10 beds) is ruled out on safety grounds. And affordability is given as the reason why new builds, offering either all services or just outpatient services, will not be considered – likewise options offering increased capacity inpatient services or mobile community services. This leaves five options which will be considered during the consultation process:
1. Poltair: Outpatient and outreach services only
2. Poltair: Outpatient, outreach and inpatient services (5 beds)
3. Poltair: Outpatient and outreach services only (with increased capacity)
4. Relocation to West Cornwall Hospital
5. Relocation to other local health and/or community sites.
However Ms Blundy believes that ruling out the redevelopment of Poltair on grounds of cost is not an option. “We (West Cornwall HealthWatch) believe that there is insufficient bed capacity in the community hospital sector, which has contributed to the problems experienced by the acute sector (Treliske). “We also believe that not all patients can safely and adequately be cared for in their own homes, where home care is simply not in place – and will not be without truly massive investment.“ I note that options involving a new build or reopening 10 beds have been discounted on grounds of ‘affordability’.“Frankly, we can’t afford not to consider these. To deliver adequate care to the growing numbers of frail elderly people who need it is going to cost a lot of money – we have no other option.”
The first of four events when people will get the chance to have their say on the proposals takes place on Wednesday, December 11 at St John’s Hall, Penzance from 6 to 7.30pm.
There will also be three drop-in sessions for people to talk to staff from NHS Kernow and Peninsula Community Health. All three drop-in sessions take place from 4 to 8pm.
Monday, December 16 at the WI Hall, Church Street, St Just.
Wednesday, January 8 at St Ives Leisure Centre.
Wednesday, January 15 at Committee Room 1, One Stop Shop, St Clare, Penzance.
Poltair Hospital and the forthcoming consultation:
Peninsula Community Health's charity leaflet omitted three hospitals from its map - Poltair, Edward Hain and Fowey - and there are concerns that this may be an inadvertent betrayal of future intent, although this has been denied.
We remain concerned that there are inadequate numbers of community beds, particularly in the west, even including Poltair's beds. We are also very uneasy at the prospect of private nursing home beds being used in place of NHS community hospital beds.
We understand that Peninsula Community Health has an underspend of 25% on its community hospital beds. Our feeling is that we need more beds, particularly with the onset of winter pressures.
Future plans for A&E:
Recent announcements of government plans to reduce major A&E centres in England are a cause of great alarm to west Cornwall, since such implementation would in all probability see A&E cases taken to Derriford rather than Treliske. This is already happening with major trauma, and the impact on the ambulance service, the families, and particularly the patient of such a long journey, is hugely worrying. However, it has been stated that there will be no exceptions for rurality, and any A&E centre must support a 800,000 population base.
If these plans develop, we shall need to campaign vigorously on behalf of west Cornwall.
Richmond House cut in hours:
This was highlighted, and enquiries will be made.
Matthew Boulter briefed us on plans for a new integrated health project in Penwith, bearing similarities to the Newquay Pathfinder Project, which arises from NHS Kernow's Pioneer status. This will see the voluntary sector (principally Age UK), health and social care sectors working together to help mainly elderly people to improve their lives. Whilst welcoming the project, we have concerns about depending on the voluntary sector for health and social care.
Margaret Abban from 'healthwatch cornwall' briefed the committee on this new statutory organisation, which has led on from LINk. West Cornwall HealthWatch hopes to be able to work with healthwatch cornwall in raising and tackling issues which are brought to our attention.
Continued concerns about the closure of Poltair Hospital, the overloading of Treliske and the lack of domiciliary care services locally.
Richard Somerville has launched a petition in support of community hospitals, and particular Poltair. West Cornwall HealthWatch is supporting his action, as this gives people an opportunity to express their feelings about the continued closure of Poltair Hospital. If you wish to sign the petition, please copy the format below, or contact the address below; and return signed sheets to the address as soon as possible. Thank you.
Poltair Community Hospital Penzance has been closed to
in-patients since October 2012 (10 beds). We the undersigned
criticise Peninsula Community Health and demand that PCH provide an adequate number of beds locally.
Signature Please print name Post Code