A LEADING health campaigner says she is “very concerned for the residents of West Penwith” over the options outlined for the future of a local community hospital.
Poltair Hospital has been closed since October of last year and Monday will see the start of the public consultation period when the proposals will be available for the public to look at and comment on.
But, having already seen the proposals, West Cornwall Healthwatch co-ordinator Marna Blundy says: “It is now even more vital that people take an active part in the consultation exercise which is about to begin.”
Initially 10 options for how best Poltair’s community health services should be delivered were identified but five of them have already been discarded on the grounds of affordability or safety.
Using Poltair for outpatient, outreach and inpatient services (10 beds) is ruled out on safety grounds.
And affordability is given as the reason why new builds, offering either all services or just outpatient services, will not be considered – likewise options offering increased capacity inpatient services or mobile community services.
This leaves five options which will be considered during the consultation process:
1. Poltair: Outpatient and outreach services only
2. Poltair: Outpatient, outreach and inpatient services (5 beds)
3. Poltair: Outpatient and outreach services only (with increased capacity)
4. Relocation to West Cornwall Hospital
5. Relocation to other local health and/or community sites.
However Ms Blundy believes that ruling out the redevelopment of Poltair on grounds of cost is not an option.
“We (West Cornwall HealthWatch) believe that there is insufficient bed capacity in the community hospital sector, which has contributed to the problems experienced by the acute sector (Treliske).
“We also believe that not all patients can safely and adequately be cared for in their own homes, where home care is simply not in place – and will not be without truly massive investment.
“I note that options involving a new build or reopening 10 beds have been discounted on grounds of ‘affordability’.
“Frankly, we can’t afford not to consider these. To deliver adequate care to the growing numbers of frail elderly people who need it is going to cost a lot of money – we have no other option.”
The first of four events when people will get the chance to have their say on the proposals takes place on Wednesday, December 11 at St John’s Hall, Penzance from 6 to 7.30pm.