Cornishman Article November 2016

Cornishman Article for November.

This month we are thinking about the old phrase – ‘squaring the circle’, which is a neat way of saying attempting to do the impossible, and applying it to the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Cornwall - a plan to shape the future of health and care prepared by the organisations that commission and provide services.


The vision is to keep us all healthy for as long as possible, supporting people to help themselves and each other so they stay independent and well in their community, and to provide services that everyone can be proud of and reduce the cost overall. No-one can argue with the vision but can it be achieved?


·         How can you transform the provision of health and social care under a reducing budget –  £200m has to be saved over the next five years.

·         Supporting people to help themselves – the Living Well project which did just that will not be funded.

·         Helping others, being a carer – the budget to give support to voluntary and unpaid carers has been cut.


Possible changes envisaged by the STP include

·         trading hospital beds for more care at home, boosting therapy services – but is this practical and where are the staff to come from? What about the family who were told they could have a care package to look after their loved one at the end of life and then told sorry there is no one to provide this.

·         Establishing a network of a few Urgent Care Centres and closing Minor Injury Units – what about transport?

·         Referring more people for out of county treatment - what happened to care nearer to home?

There will be public consultation over the Outline STP before Christmas – so we encourage the public to take part, and have their say.


We are waiting to hear about the closed inpatient beds at Edward Hain Hospital. Has the hospital a sustainable future? There is no point in spending  NHS or community raised funds, on a facility that may be considered not needed under the STP. A decision won’t be made until late next year – by which time they may not have to make the argument. Remember Poltair.


Following on we were pleased to see a planning application for the new GP surgeries at St Clare – but what an opportunity missed! We had  proposed a purpose built community facility with intermediate beds for care and rehabilitation, together with a hub for health and social care staff with training alongside the new surgery.


Lastly the STP has a vision to provide services that everyone can be proud of. Well, we are proud of our NHS now, and hope to proud of a continuing NHS in the future.


Copyright Jan Williams and Jane Varker