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West Cornwall HealthWatch has growing concerns for the future of NHS services in the county, which are increasingly under threat from the “Any Qualified Provider” legislation.
Spokesperson for West Cornwall HealthWatch, Marna Blundy, said this week: “Put simply, it means that private companies can offer their services to the NHS, as we are seeing with the Duchy Hospital, Bodmin Treatment Centre, and even Specsavers! Patients who choose to have their treatment in these places are unwittingly diverting NHS money into the coffers of private companies, at the expense of NHS organisations. Ultimately even core services such as orthopaedics in our hospitals may be under threat, if this trend continues or accelerates.
We understand that patients might be attracted by advertisements in the paper; but NHS-run hospitals and clinics are not allowed to do the same. It isn’t a level playing field. “Long-standing campaigning groups such as ours have worked tirelessly, with the support of the community, to keep both West Cornwall and St Michaels Hospitals open and flourishing.
All our efforts could be jeopardised by private companies siphoning off work from these hospitals. We understand that this year alone, Ramsay Health Care (who run Duchy Hospital and Bodmin Treatment Centre) have pocketed over £18million from NHS work, the result of patients choosing to be treated there.
It will be nothing short of tragic if, as a result of Cornish patients choosing to have their NHS treatment away from St Michaels Hayle, West Cornwall Hospital, or even Treliske, the choice of these hospitals for treatment is lost for everyone else in the future.”