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24 Hour Doctor Cover Returns to West Cornwall

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8:59am 6th June 2012
(Updated 8:59am 6th June 2012)

From today, the West Cornwall Hospital will be staffed by a doctor, around the clock.

The new urgent care centre opens later.

After months of struggling to recruit new doctors, Penzance will have extra facilities like more blood tests and CT scans.

Doctor Matthew Boulter is a GP at Alverton Practice in Penzance and insists the hospital is secure: "I'm a local resident too, it's my local hospital too and I fully understand and am sympathetic to those views. There is now a complete cross the board commitment to this. It very much secures the long-term future of West Cornwall Hospital and will be the foundation to build on other services.

"The emergency patients, the really sick and the really injured, need to be at Treliske in a big centre with all the specialties. But the urgent care, the sort of level of patients below that, are entirely appropriate for West Cornwall. Far too many of those over recent months have been having to go to Treliske so we're going to reverse that".

Royal Cornwall Hospitals' Trust bosses say the simple public message is that for five conditions and ALL severely ill children, the advice is always to call 999:

1.    Chest pains
2.    Acute shortage of breath
3.    Strokes
4.    Head injury with loss of consciousness
5.    Severe abdominal pain

Examples of five conditions that can be treated at West Cornwall Hospital:

1.    Minor burns, scalds and injuries
2.    Simple fractures to legs, arms, ankles, wrists
3.    Cuts which require stitching
4.    Chest and urinary infections
5.    Patients who have had minor falls

Andy Virr, Emergency Department Consultant and Specialty Lead, says, "The Urgent Care Centre is an excellent new service designed by clinicians to meet local needs. There are many conditions which can be quite safely and quickly treated at West Cornwall Hospital and we would encourage patients wherever appropriate to go to this local service.

""The term Casualty is really no longer used in the NHS. We felt this might lead to a misunderstanding among the local population and particularly tourists as to what level of care is available at West Cornwall Hospital. Urgent Care Centres are well established in other parts of the UK and the signage helps people to choose the right service".

Bosses say the Urgent Care Centre will be continually evaluated and developed, with reviews at 6 and 12 months.

The Urgent Care Centre is part of a £5 million investment programme at West Cornwall Hospital which includes new operating theatres, two refurbished medical wards and a new treatment centre.

Chief Executive at Royal Cornwall Hospitals' Trust, Lezli Boswell, says, "I share the community's desire to see more services provided closer to people's homes.  The investment at West Cornwall Hospital is part the Trust's desire to see vibrant local hospitals offering good quality services".

8:59am 6th June 2012

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