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VIDEO: Cornwall's Health Service Is 'Being Chopped To Pieces'

VIDEO: Cornwall's Health Service Is 'Being Chopped To Pieces'

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 8:02am 18th October 2015.

Cornwall's health service is being 'chopped to pieces', according to an American campaigner.

The warning comes as protestors call to lock the Duchy's community services into the NHS.

It is after Peninsula Community Health said it would not run the contract from places like the Edward Hain in St Ives to Stratton after 2016.

Bosses have blamed "a challenging financial climate".

But health officials say they do not have a free choice and have to follow a strict set of rules.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital has joined up with Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Kernow Health Community Interest Company to bid for the services.

Campaigners lobbied them as they held a board meeting at Pool Innovation Centre.

Ellen Hawley is from 'Cornwall Keep Our NHS Public'.

She said: "Coming here and seeing the national health system was jaw-droppingly wonderful.

"In the United States I have a friend whose mother might need a pace maker, my friend's first reaction was 'she can't afford a pace maker', nobody in third country would say that because if you need it you get it, to destroy that would be criminal.

"It is good for profit, but it is terrible for patients. What you have in the UK is this really magnificent thing, a unitary system which is set up for the patients, but they are chopping it to pieces, it is already under-funded and running a massive, massive debt.

"I have seen what happens when healthcare is set up for private profit, you get fragmentation, you get organisations that have overlapping areas of work, they will take an expensive patient and everyone will try and push that patient on someone else because they cost too much."

Chris Dayus is the chair of Truro Labour Party and a retired UNISON activist.

She is warning that privatising Cornwall's cottage hospitals would also lead to less money for patient care: "The government has talked about devolution in Cornwall now, they have got a devolution deal with Cornwall Council, they are talking about an integrated health service, that is an integration between health and local government that would enable getting people out of hospital more quickly, so you don't have what is called bed blocking, which causes major problems for acute hospitals.

"They need to contract within the health service not with the private sector, we have got enough experience in Cornwall with the private sector coming in and things going badly wrong, because when companies run it profit is more important than service to them."

A spokesman for NHS Kernow said: "The CCG has taken advice from a number of sources about the most appropriate method of re-providing adult community services from April 2016. These sources include legal firms, Monitor, the Healthcare regulator, and the NHS England New Models of Care team - a team set up to support NHS organisations in the implementation of the integrated models of provision outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View.
"The consensus of opinion from all parties contacted was that the community health services, with a value of around £78million, could not simply be awarded to an organisation of the CCG's choice.  This would breach competition law and procurement regulations and would leave the CCG open to challenge which could then significantly impact on the ability to secure continued provision of these services from April 2016.  
"The CCG's Governing Body debated options available and, with expert input from a partner in a legal firm, approved the process we are currently following.  As is normal practice in the public sector, this will be achieved by way of an open market procurement that meets legal and regulator requirements."

You can see video and photos of the protest outside Pool Innovation Centre here...

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