May 2016 Cornishman article
A View From The Barricades (West Cornwall HealthWatch)
Greetings from West Cornwall Healthwatch to all readers of the Cornishman. We will be writing a monthly column from April and our intention is to enlighten you about what is happening within and to our local health services and hopefully entertain you a little.
So, what exactly is West Cornwall HealthWatch? Well, it is an independent, non-party political group with around 1000 registered members, spread over West Cornwall, notto be confused with Healthwatch Cornwall, which is a government funded organisation.
Since forming in early 1997 it has campaigned vigorously for local health services. Lots of you will remember the huge march through Penzance in support of West Cornwall Hospital, indeed many of you will have participated in it.
Sadly our hospitals and services are under threat of change as never before with severe funding cuts so the need to scrutinise decision making at all levels and campaign around the protection of vital services is at an all-time high.
The closure of Poltair hospital and the ‘temporary’ closure of Edward Hain in St Ives have meant that Penwith currently has no available community beds. Consequently, Penwith patients who leave Treliske hospital with rehabilitation needs, end up in Helston, Redruth or even further afield.
We believe that the lack of beds is one of the reasons why patients become stuck in Treliske and we are lobbying Cornwall Council’s Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee to undertake an independent review of all bed provision in Cornwall, so watch this space…..
Our community health services, which have for the last 4 years been run by Peninsula Community Health (P.C.H), a not for profit community interest company, are from April 1st, returning to the NHS to be run by a consortium, made up of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT), Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust (CPFT the mental health and learning disabilities service for adults and children) and the Cornish GPs.
On the face of it, this will be good news for staff and patients, PCH having had to pay business rates and VAT, which meant money taken away from patient care. However, we are concerned that with a reduced budget the consortium will be looking to close some of our smaller hospitals so we worry that the temporary closure of Edward Hain might become permanent, (Poltair casts a long shadow). Along with the Friends of Edward Hain, we are monitoring this situation closely.
We end our first column by hoping that you all stay healthy and happy and would like to remind you that our National Health Service is still one of the most effective and efficient in the world.
Gans gorhemmynadow a’n gwella/With best wishes
West Cornwall HealthWatch.