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Cornish Hospital Could Close

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1:35pm 4th December 2013
(Updated 1:35pm 4th December 2013)

Health bosses have told Pirate FM a Cornish hospital could close.

A consultation is due to begin into the future of Poltair hospital in Penzance.

Ahead of that officials have drawn up five options for its future.

The hospital's ten beds have been shut since last October because of staffing problems.

Only one of the scenarios drawn up and seen by Pirate FM would mean the hospital retains any beds at all, going from ten to five.

Another would see the ward shut - with the space used to lay on extra outpatients clinics while more treatment would happen in patients' homes.

But two of the options would mean the end of inpatient, outpatient and outreach services at the site. Officials say that could signal the end of the site.

Termed "relocation" it would mean services being switched either to the West Cornwall hospital or other local health sites, including pharmacies.

All the options under discussion would see some outreach and rehabilitation appointments delivered at home.

Marna Blundy from West Cornwall Healthwatch told Pirate FM: "There are no surprises here, but I am very disappointed, and concerned for the residents of West Penwith.  

"It is now even more vital that people take an active part in the consultation exercise which is about to begin.

"The views of West Cornwall HealthWatch on Poltair are well known. We believe that there is insufficient bed capacity in the community hospital sector, which has contributed to the problems experienced by the acute sector at Treliske.

"We also believe that not all patients can safely and adequately be cared for in their own homes, where home care is simply not in place - and will not be without truly massive investment.  And we are fearful that such measures will lead to further privatisation of what should be NHS provision.

"I note that options involving a new build or reopening 10 beds have been discounted on grounds of 'affordability'.  Frankly, we can't afford not to."

Doctor Neil Walden has been leading the consultation into the hospital's future. He told Pirate FM: "I know people will be to some extent disappointed about some of the issues that are raised in the options. But we hope they will understand we have worked really hard to fit those to the criteria we have to work to.

In the past protestors in west Cornwall have taken to the streets to protest about possible health service cuts. Dr Walden said he did not think that would be necessary: "I'm not sure marching is something we should be seeing on this issue because we are giving the public ample opportunity to come and talk to us and involve themselves on this consultation in a way that could provide a healthy future."

The options under discussion are:

Option One

Poltair would retain outpatient and outreach services but inpatient beds would be shut with patients cared for at Edward Hain and Helston Community Hospitals.

Option Two

Outpatient and outreach services would be retained with five of the ten beds reopened at the hospital.

Option Three

Outreach services would be retained with more outpatient services delivered at Poltair by using space on the first floor, currently taken up by inpatient beds. That would mean patients being cared for at Edward Hain and Helston Community hospitals instead.

Option Four

Termed "relocation" it would mean outpatient clinics and outreach services delivered at West Cornwall hospital while inpatient services would be moved to Edward Hain and Helston Community hospitals.

Option Five

Also termed "relocation" in official documents it would mean outpatient and outreach appointments taking place at alternative sites, such as GP practices, pharmacies and the West Cornwall. Inpatient beds would be moved to Edward Hain and Helston Community hospitals.


Originally there was a list of ten options, including a new build and reopening all ten beds. But Pirate FM has learnt five have been dropped over the last month either because the proposals were either not thought to be safe or were unaffordable.

A public consultation is due to start on Monday which health bosses say will focus on providing safe, high quality treatment that is value for money.

Documents explaining the options will be available from GP practices, libraries, one-stop shops and online.

On Wednesday, 11 December, a public meeting will be held at St John's Hall, Penzance, from 6pm to 7.30pm.

There will also be three drop-in sessions for people to talk to staff from NHS Kernow and Peninsula Community Health. All three drop-in sessions take place from 4pm to 8pm.

  •     Monday, 16 December at the WI Hall, Church Street, St Just. TR19 7HA.
  •     Wednesday, 8 January at St Ives Leisure Centre, Trenwith Burrows. TR26 1HB.
  •     Wednesday, 15 January at committee room 1, One Stop Shop, St Clare, Penzance. TR18 3QW.
1:35pm 4th December 2013

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