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Staff Crisis Closes Cornish Hospital Temporarily

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12:31pm 5th October 2012
(Updated 12:31pm 5th October 2012)

Pirate FM has learnt a Cornish hospital is being temporarily shut because bosses can not find enough staff to run it.

Poltair in Madron near Penzance will close for at least three months and workers sent to other sites struggling to find cover.

It is run by Peninsula Community Health - a not for profit company - which describes the decision as "regrettable."

Chief Executive Kevin Baber insisted that what was happening was not a crisis: "We have reached the position where we have so few patients in Poltair at the moment that it makes sense to use the staff capacity we have to strengthen other sites.

"We are doing our best to recruit staff to our sites across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and now plan to take our recruitment drive national to bring people in from outside of the county if necessary to get our teams back to full strength.

"The temporary closure of any community hospital is regrettable but it makes sense to maximise bed availability in the West by concentrating resources on our other sites to ensure those beds can remain safely staffed and available."

Those other sites include Helston and the Edward Hain in St Ives, which are also having staffing problems.

The company is planning to launch a national recruitment campaign within a fortnight. Health campaigners want to know why that did not happen sooner, before facilities had to be closed.

The company has suffered a series of staffing problems since taking over the contract to provide community health services last October.

Bosses admitted they do not know precisely when the hospital will reopen.

In September Pirate FM revealed that beds were shutting in Launceston and Falmouth because of staff shortages.

Graham Webster from Health Initiative Cornwall said:

“Staff are extremely concerned, not least of all for patients, and they’re very disappointed that they’re not able to provide the services. They’re concerned also for their own particular situations and their own security.

“When they were in the NHS this just didn’t happen. It just simply isn’t good enough. If this is what the private sector has to offer patients here in Cornwall then I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say, we don’t want it”

12:31pm 5th October 2012

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