WCHW December 2016 Cornishman article
WEST CORNWALL HEALTHWATCH DECEMBER COLUMN
The question ‘who can we trust’ has never seemed so relevant as Cornwall’s Sustainability and Transformation plan (STP) finally makes an appearance, albeit a glossy PR version of the actual Outline Business Case. And despite earlier reassurances to the contrary, Edward Hain’s community hospital beds remain closed and are likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.
Previous information from the Chief Executive of Cornwall Partnership Trust on Edward Hain, was that representation would be made to the GP Clinical Commissioning Group, about funding towards the necessary work. To date no request has been made.
Instead, it was suggested that the community of St Ives might like to contribute £650k towards the £800k that we were told was needed to ensure the hospital’s safety and fitness of purpose.
Amazingly, whether we think this a good or bad idea, the Friends of Edward Hain were prepared to play ball and consider raising the money. Now, however, the goal posts have changed and a figure of £1.2 million is on record, with £800k being requested from the community or public purse.
So we turn to Cornwall’s STP.
This is being presented as a truly local initiative, with a once in a lifetime opportunity to provide a health and social care system fit for the 21st century. If only that was true!
From Cornwall to Carlise the same message is being spun. “Acute hospital beds are outdated and too expensive. We don’t need all these community hospitals and wholesale change is needed”.
The truth is that STP’s are tightly and centrally controlled by the government through NHS England. The driving force behind these plans is a political desire to reduce public sector spending on health and social care. To this end Cornwall’s health and social services will be forced to make millionsof pounds worth of savings within the next 5 years while at the same time delivering integrated care.
Unfortunately, there is scant detail about how this will be achieved and no evidence that the proposed model will save money and more importantly improve patient care.
Kathy Byrne, the new chief executive for RCHT (Treliske) when interviewed about the STP by Lawrence Reed on Radio Cornwall, asked us to take a leap of faith.
Sorry Kathy, but what we, the residents of Cornwall want, are the details of the plan so far, information about proposed changes to our local services and clear evidence to support the need for those changes. Most importantly, we need reassurance that no services will be lost before robust alternatives are in place.
There is a public meeting about Cornwall’s STP @ St John’s Hall, 7pm on 10th January. You may wish to make your views heard!
Jane Varker and Jan Williams. 1/12/2016
Copyright to West Cornwall HealthWatch.