News of Edward Hain and Poltair Hospitals May 2016
Comment 22nd May 2016
Whilst not wanting to cause dissent in the ranks, members of West Cornwall HealthWatch feel the need to set the record straight following the article in the Cornishman of 12th May, which seemed to suggest both that the profit from the sale of Poltair would remain in Cornwall, and that the beds at Edward Hain would reopen in due course. Unfortunately, members do not have huge confidence that either of these will actually happen, and found the coverage to be somewhat misleading of our own position:
We are increasingly exasperated about this sorry saga. We were assured during the ‘consultation’ that all Poltair clinics would be relocated locally, but several have been moved to Treliske with all the resultant difficulties for patients and their families. We were assured during the consultation that the money saved by closing Poltair would be reinvested in community services, but it has now been admitted that this never happened. We all rejoiced at the news that, following our campaign, the money from the sale of Poltair would be retained in Cornwall, but this is not a ‘given’; it is conditional on devoCornwall being successful, and on an acceptable plan for capital investment. There are no guarantees. It all means that the local community has received absolutely nothing to compensate for the sacrifice of Poltair Community Hospital.
We were suspicious from the moment the beds were closed in February. NHS Property Services will not release their fire safety report, and Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust (now providing community hospital services) will not sanction the beds without assurances of safety. There is still – three months later – no detail of the cost of works required, nor any timescale for completion. Given the dire financial and operational situation of the NHS in Cornwall, there is no guarantee that the funding will be found to enable these beds to be reopened. As things stand, Penwith has no community hospital beds – the nearest are in Camborne and Helston – and private nursing home bed numbers are inadequate to cope with the need for non-acute nursing care.
The reality of our situation is becoming stark and the future dismal. We apologise for sounding this sombre note, but to keep quiet would be irresponsible. Those making decisions need to be accountable, and need to listen to the real concerns of this community. We leave it to readers to decide whether our NHS is worth fighting for, and to join us if they want to try.