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Hospitals Could Close In Cornwall

health

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 6:05pm 22nd September 2016. (Updated at 3:14pm 23rd September 2016)

A big health shake-up across Cornwall could close some hospitals.

The 'Sustainability and Transformation Plan' also reveals a 'tight network' or urgent care centres could replace minor injury units.

It predicts the Duchy's entire health and social care system will be £140 million in the red by next year.

Officials warn the budget black hole could rise to almost £280 million in five years, if they do not act now.

It is being put down to stuff like the Duchy's ageing population and the influx of summer visitors.

The plan is focussing on care closer to home.

Some of the other changes on the cards involve more services led by GPs and boosting therapy sessions to cut how much time patients spend in hospital.

You can read a summary of the draft Strategic Outline Case of their Sustainability and Transformation Plan which has been published here.

It explains that the STP is required to achieve three aims set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View which are:

  • Improve the health and wellbeing of the local population.
  • Improve the quality of local health and care services.
  • Deliver financial stability in the local health and care system.

Health and care partners (NHS and local authorities) say they are taking the opportunity to work together to design a more integrated system with one plan and one budget that puts the individual citizen first, rather than organisations or buildings.

Phil Confue, Senior Responsible Officer for the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly STP said: "We have a once in a generation opportunity to transform local health and care services over the next five years through the NHS England required Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

"The current system is stretched and needs to be able to meet the needs of citizens and communities as well as to be financially sustainable. Our common aim is to focus more resources on prevention and keep people as healthy as possible for as long as possible and out of hospital care. We all want services that are high quality, co-ordinated and cost-effective and we will be working with the community on a range of options later in the year."

In the draft document, five priorities are laid out.

1. Prevention and Primary Care, focussing on the wider determinants of health (education, lifestyle, mental health), primary and secondary care prevention, transforming primary care, GP sustainability and GP commissioning.

2. Community care and support focussing on community recovery, re-ablement and rehabilitation, case management and co-ordination, care home support, community based care, end of life support.

3. Urgent and Emergency Care, focussing on NHS 111 and out of hours services, Urgent Care Centres and Emergency Department development.

4. Clinical pathways, provider and commissioner reform, focussing on improving clinical pathways for specific patient groups such as those with stroke, diabetes, musculoskeletal or heart conditions as well as specialist services and organisational  reform to focus on the individual citizen.

5. Productivity and efficiency. focussing on workforce, administration, procurement, estates, Information Management & Technology and the Lord Carter recommendations

But in it bosses admit some changes may not be popular: "Further work is required before we can fully set out the options available however, there is likely to be a mixture of some popular and some controversial proposals that will need further engagement throughout, we will focus on the evidence presented and the best possible health outcomes for individuals and whole communities."

One that may not be popular is the possible closure of hospitals.

The report said examples of potential service changes include: "trading hospital beds in the acute and community sector for more care at home (which may lead to some hospital closures)" and "establishing a tight network of effective Urgent Care Centres in place of a multitude of unsustainable Minor Injury Units"

There could be job changes too as the report states: "It is also likely that the workforce will change over the next five years with more integrated working across organisational boundaries, new skills required for less institutional and more community care and the necessity for fewer non-clinical staff overall."

Earlier this year, three thousand people across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly took part in a survey and series of community events and the information went into a report on the health and care priorities of locals and health care providers.

Bosses say the information gathered provided rich insight into the challenges faced and what should be prioritised in order to have the greatest impact on improving the health and well-being of people living in Cornwall.

They also say that there is still lots of discussion to be had and encourage locals to get involved.

If you would like to get involved in helping to shape the future of local health and care services and attend any forthcoming events please email: shapethefuture@cornwall.gov.uk

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