CONCERNS were expressed about where the proceeds of any future sale of Poltair Hospital would go as the consultation period over the future of the hospital began with a meeting at Penzance’s St John’s Hall last night.
Around 50 people attended the meeting along with a 10–strong team from the NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group as views were sought on the five options put forward for the future of the community hospital sited between Madron and Heamoor.
Dr Neil Walden, the Penwith Locality Lead, stressed that the consultation would be completely open.
“An enormous amount of energy has gone into making this open and transparent,” he said.
“It will be much more appropriate than some which have taken place on previous issues.”
However, with only one of the five options involving the retention of (five) inpatient beds at Poltair, two of them not foreseeing any future for the hospital at all and a recognition that in any case there would need to be a significant investment to bring Poltair up to date, the focus turned to what would happen to the money if the hospital was sold.
Pauline Schofield, a former Penwith District councillor, said her family had gifted Poltair a ‘dying with dignity room’ after the death of both her parents there and asked for a “categorical assurance” that any monies would stay in Penwith.
But it was confirmed that the proceeds from any sale would go straight to the NHS - owners of the property since it was gifted to them by the Bolitho family – and that there was no guarantee that the money would be used for any future investment in health services in West Cornwall.
Dr Walden did say that efforts had been made to forge links with the NHS property services and would continue to be in the future.
“It is unlikely that we will change Government policy but we will continue to make representations,” he added.
There seemed general agreement among those attending that West Cornwall should have a facility of inpatient beds to care for the frail and elderly based in the Penzance area in addition to Edward Hain Hospital at St Ives.
Carol Rowe, chair of the Friends of West Cornwall and Poltair Hospital noted that one of the wards at West Cornwall Hospital was full of people who would normally be treated at Poltair and also that the number of community beds in the area had already been reduced by a third.
Both the Bellair and Bolitho were suggested as possible sites which could house replacement services.
Consultation documents are available from NHS Kernow; GP practices in west Cornwall; libraries; community hospitals; pharmacies; council one-stop shops; West Cornwall Hospital and online at www.kernowccg.nhs.uk/poltair
Further drop-in sessions take place next Monday at the WI Hall, Church Street, St Just, at St Ives Leisure Centre on January 8 and at Committee Room 1, One Stop Shop, St Clare, Penzance on January 5.