By Dr Peter Levin 

Published 03/09/2021

There’s an interesting controversy going on in Cornwall. NHS Kernow, the clinical commissioning group, says we have too many hospital beds, while the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, which runs Treliske and the other acute hospitals in the county, says more are needed. They can’t both be right. But they can both be wrong! 

 Government guidance says some inpatients (especially in acute hospitals) will need to move on to a ’24-hour bedded facility’ for rehabilitation or recovery before they can go home.

 The acute hospitals say it’s not their job to provide rehab/recovery facilities. Such facilities  do exist in Cornwall but they are in community hospitals, so their beds are labelled ‘hospital beds’ and NHS Kernow has made it its mission to close such beds. We’ve already lost the only two community hospitals in Penwith; two more (Fowey and Saltash) are on the way. That’s 40 beds gone, with some Penwith residents discharged from Treliske being sent to the other end of the county as a result.

 What’s missing is (1) the joined-up thinking across the hospital sector that would match the rehab/recovery facilities to those of the acute hospitals, so there’s no obstruction to the flow of patients, and (2) a policy of distributing those facilities fairly across Cornwall: this must mean replacing Penwith’s Edward Hain community hospital with a modern purpose-built facility for rehabilitation and recovery.

To read the full article on  Social Policy Research for Cornwall website click here