Cornishman Article March 2017




West Cornwall HealthWatch article for March 2017




Spring is in the air and with it a hint of optimism. Can the pressure from health campaigners, the BMA and the daily onslaught by the media about the state of the NHS bring about a positive outcome in funding for health and social care?




We are encouraged that Cornwall Council recognise that reorganising our Cornish services alone will not solve the £264 million funding crisis, and are sending  letters to all Cornish MPs and Jeremy Hunt requesting that the historic underfunding of Cornwall’s NHS is addressed.


A recent report from the independent King’s Fund on the progress of transformation plans (STPs), whilst agreeing the need for change, suggests that additional investment with a longer time scale is required to support transformation. It queries how realistic planned reductions of acute and community hospital capacity are, with hospitals under so much pressure and  bed occupancy well over the safe 85% level. The National Audit of Intermediate Care says the NHS has only half the beds and places needed.


Yet in Cornwall we have lost 39 community hospital beds and the STP looks likely to recommend more closures. There is no progress on re-opening the beds at Edward Hair Hospital, and Fowey and St Barnabus remain ‘temporarily’ closed!


We are also becoming concerned about the future of services provided at West Cornwall Hospital, including the Urgent Care Centre, and St Michaels Hospital, Hayle. A survey of 172 NHS Trust Chairs and Chief Executives has found that after saving money, their priority is ‘reconfiguring’ acute services and moving care into the community.




What can individuals do?


Join us for a candlelit vigil at 6.30 pm on Friday evening 3rd March outside our much loved West Cornwall Hospital.


Join us on Saturday 4th for a Cornwall wide NHS March in Truro, saying ‘No’ to closures of our community hospitals and to cuts in local services.


Assemble near the Humphry Davy statue at midday ready to walk down to the train station to travel to Truro. The march will leave Lemon Quay at 2.15pm and walk to Cathedral Square.




Visit us at the Pop Up Shop on the Terrace in Market Jew Street, Penzance, this week. Send a postcard to your local MP, sign up in support of our Health Manifesto.


Also come and tell us your stories about health and social care. We will be giving evidence about Cornwall’s STP to the Councils scrutiny committee and your input could be very powerful.




Lastly we invite you to attend our AGM is on Thursday 23rd March, 7pm, in the Alverne Room, St Johns Hall. The discussion is entitled “Reality, not Spin – where next for Cornwall’s NHS?”


All supporters are very welcome.






Jan Williams and Jane Varker


Copyright WCHW