Cornishman Article for May 2017

In the run up to the Cornwall Council Elections we have contacted all the candidates standing in the old Penwith and Kerrier districts, asking them to sign up to five pledges around health and social care provision in Cornwall. We are putting the same five pledges to the candidates in the General Election in June. As you the public decide on who to vote for, you might consider who will try to deliver these pledges –

1.       Do everything possible, including working across party lines, to ensure that Cornwall has sufficient funding to deliver NHS and Social Care for both physical and mental health that is consistently dependable and of good quality, for all residents and visitors.

2.       Work to ensure we maintain and develop our community hospitals across Cornwall, in order to provide rehabilitation, re-enablement and end of life care in a non acute setting.

3.       Work to ensure that no resident is disadvantaged in accessing health and social care because of where they live, notably those who live in the far south-west or other extremities of Cornwall.

4.       Do everything possible to ensure that any changes proposed in the Sustainability and Transformation Plan are based on clear and irrefutable evidence that these will benefit our residents.

5.        Work to ensure that no closures or reductions in service are made to hospitals and other facilities unless alternatives are firmly in place, so that not a single resident ‘falls through the gap’.

The pledges are based around real needs and several patient stories have come to us in the past couple of months illustrating this.

One elderly lady needing 24 hour end of life care was admitted to Treliske, the only available bed. Fortunately a bed became available at Helston Community Hospital, the nearest to Penwith now, and as the family told us ‘she was in the right place being looked after, the staff couldn’t have done any more for her or us’.

A relative spent a week trying to find a place for respite care for her grandmother, while she took a break, eventually finding a home miles away. At the end of the two weeks respite it was impossible to find the community care now needed, and the elderly lady had to stay in the care home, until she died ten weeks later, contrary to her wish to be at home. The granddaughter told us  ‘The expectation that you can just boot a load of elderly, disabled people out into the community and the community will just somehow cope without any additional resources I think is just pie in the sky thinking’.

A list of signatories to the pledges is on our Face Book page and website.


Copyright - Jane Varker and Graham Webster