Pirate FM News

Cancelled Op Fears Over Hospital Closure Plan

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 6:01am 9th December 2013. (Updated at 10:52am 9th December 2013)

Campaigners fear closing a Cornish hospital could lead to more cancelled operations and delays at Treliske.

A public consultation is starting on the future of Poltair after Pirate FM revealed two of the five options could mean it shuts completely.

Bosses from NHS Kernow insist ten beds being closed in Penzance has not made things worse at the Royal Cornwall.

Janice Bragg from Praa Sands had to wait in an ambulance after being taken in with chest pains and she is not so sure.

She told Pirate FM: "I had to be taken to hospital in an ambulance and the driver was telling me then that sometimes there were six ambulances sitting outside the A&E to take the patients in.

"They do need somewhere to take the patients. They're saying about older patients taking up beds because there's nobody at home to take care of them and there's nowhere else to put them. Poltair is a perfect place for that."

MP Andrew George has already told Pirate FM he believes the hospital will close - and that local people are being "massaged into submission." He said: "To say that, somehow, we can manage with beds out at nursing homes and hopefully patients will go to Helston Community hospital and Edward Hain in St Ives is really going forward on a wing and a prayer and is not satisfactory when you are managing health services.

"I'd like to see a broader picture of where a rising population with increasing numbers of older people are going to have their medical needs managed in future with what appears to be fewer community hospital beds."

Marazion GP Dr Neil Walden is leading the consultation process. He told Pirate FM: "There is nothing that we've been able to find in the work on the beds that have been closed at Poltair to show that there has been a major impact on services.

"The issues are complex and they are ones that our organisations are working together actively to solve.

"It's not so much about numbers of beds in community hospitals. It's about ensuring appropriate care in appropriate places for patients in a safe manner. That's what we're working on in this consultation."

He declined to tell Pirate FM whether Treliske agreed with his assessment over community beds.

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.

In a statement Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group said: "No advance decision has been made about the future of the hospital." But Pirate FM has learnt there were, originally, ten options, including a new build and reopening all ten beds.

But five have been dropped over the last month either because the proposals were either not thought to be safe or were unaffordable.

Health bosses say the focus is 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 here.

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.
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