Choose NHS services in Cornwall

July 15th 2013:

A spokesperson for RCHT said: "We support the ‘choose it or lose it’ message of West Cornwall Healthwatch in encouraging local patients to use their NHS hospitals.  It is important people support RCHT to ensure we can continue to provide a full range of high quality care for everyone. Patients can feel confident in choosing our services based on the quality of care provided by our specialists and highly experienced teams who have access to world-class diagnostic, surgical and critical care facilities.  This is backed up by patients who have given our hospitals 5-star and 4-star ratings on the national NHS Choices website – as good as, or better than, local private sector providers.
"We are fully committed to offering more surgery at St Michael’s Hospital, however at present the people of Cornwall are choosing private sector providers of NHS services for their outpatient appointment and subsequent surgery.  “It may be local people are unaware our waiting times have reduced dramatically in recent years and that in most cases we can offer outpatient appointments close to home regardless of which of our hospitals they come to for surgery.  Our message to them is, for safe, comprehensive and prompt access to care, tell your GP or the referral management service that you only want RCHT.”
West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, is supporting the West Cornwall HealthWatch campaign to encourage patients to choose local NHS hospitals rather than private companies for their health services.Mr George is warning that, if patients choose private hospitals and companies over local hospitals then local NHS services could be undermined and the future of local hospitals put in jeopardy.Mr George has been raising issues with the Health Secretary and with Health chiefs since the passing of the Health and Social Care Act last year.Mr George said:  “Some private health companies want to ‘cherry pick’ more profitable routine health work.  But every patient who chooses a private company over core NHS hospitals runs the risk of eroding the future of our local NHS hospitals.”RCHT has circulated the  leaflet ‘Your NHS is changing – Please support Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust…’.Mr George added:  “Not only does RCHT provide hearing, MRI and physiotherapy services, but private companies could also take vital orthopaedic work from RCHT which, for example, could have a detrimental impact on the future of St Michael’s Hospital in Hayle.”Mr George has been pressing the Health Secretary to make sure that the “tariff” system – which determines the pay for each procedure – reflects the higher costs which NHS hospitals have to meet when taking on the more complex and challenging case mix and the more expensive on-costs in contrast to private companies.