THE staff who run West Cornwall Hospital’s Urgent Care Centre are currently doubling up as TV stars as they take centre stage on a national TV programme.
BBC One's Countryside 999 is being screened every weekday at 11am for the next two and a half weeks, focusing on the challenges that health services face in delivering serious and emergency healthcare in rural areas.
Sister Louise Silver, urgent care centre manager at the Penzance hospital, said: “Previous series have concentrated on Scotland but last summer they approached us about seeing what we get up to.
“We didn’t have to do it and a couple of our staff declined to be on the programme but the rest of us couldn’t sign up quick enough.”
Filming took place last August and September, a time of year when the number of people being seen at the Urgent Care Centre doubles from the 30-50 patients seen on a daily basis through the rest of the year.
“I think the programme was interested in seeing the sort of treatments which are pretty normal for us – like surfing and fishing injuries or weever fish stings – but not usual for the rest of the country,” she said.
“The programme also shows us treating people who have been injured or hurt themselves because they have been partying too hard on their holidays.”
And as well as being enjoyed by the 20 or so nurses, eight doctors and other reception staff who took part in the programme, Sister Silver believes that Countryside 999 is playing a more important purpose in helping to spread the word about West Cornwall Hospital’s Urgent Care Centre, launched in June 2012.
“Before that, mainly because we were unable to attract doctors and anaesthetists to work here but also because more services are rightfully becoming more specialised and centralised, West Cornwall Hospital had been downgraded to not much more than a minor injuries unit,” she added.
“Being invited to appear on the programme was a big accolade for us and we have also had a number of visits from other health trusts around the country who have been keen to find out what work we do here at West Cornwall.”