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News Archive > General > Threat to hospital future

Threat to hospital future

By Warren Wilkins 7th December 2016

Threat to hospital future
Newquay Hospital.

RESIDENTS are being called to fight cuts that could see Newquay’s community hospital and minor injury unit facing closure.

Health and care providers in Cornwall are proposing to shut a number of community hospitals and minor injury units throughout the county as part of plans to transform services and save £221million over the next five years.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Transformation Board, made up of all the leaders from the major public sector health and care organisations, have published the Sustainability and Transformation Plan, which states fewer hospitals will be needed in the future as more care would be provided at home.

The document also reveals minor injuries units will be turned into urgent care centres where a doctor would be present and a greater range of services would be offered "but on fewer sites."

There are three elements in the proposals, which include improving the quality of service, improving health and well-being and improving financial stability following a projected £277m deficit in Government funding by 2020/21.

Residents have a chance to have their say on the plans through a survey or series of community events until Friday, January 20. A community event is yet to be organised in Newquay but is due to be held in January. Practitioners and stakeholders are also being consulted.

Campaigners from Keep Our NHS Public Cornwall are appealing for residents to give their views on the plans to close hospitals and minor injury units. The group believes the plan would lead to a further reduction in acute beds, inadequate mental health support, service cuts, outsourcing and privatisation, staffing cuts, downgrading and attacks on pay and continuing pressure on social care.

There are currently 12 community hospitals and 14 minor injury units throughout Cornwall.

A campaign launched to save Newquay Hospital in the 1990s was successful after plans were proposed to close the facility to save money. Fears have been raised recently that Newquay Hospital would ‘struggle’ to meet the additional need of Newquay’s population increasing rapidly in the coming years from the numerous housing developments being built. It was also highlighted there is nowhere to extend the current facility.

Garth Davies, a spokesman for the Royal Cornwall Hospital, said: “We want to provide more services in the community therefore we would not need community beds so much.

“They would be cared for at home and will enable us to not have as many community hospitals. Some will definitely stay open. We now need to hear from the public what their views are on the right approach.

“There are currently 14 minor injury units on different sites. What we want to do is establish urgent care units. There us an Urgent Care Unit in West Cornwall and this is the model we we want to go with.

“There will be enhanced services where there will be senior clinical input where a doctor will be present and a greater range of services offering diagnostic tests.
“Obviously we do not want people coming to the A+E in an emergency therefore urgent care centres are needed but not 14 across the county. There will be less. The urgent care centres will be integrated with GP services.

“Our health and social care plans are designed to improve community and urgent care services.

“There is a financial element but we think we can provide better services and more efficiently. The demand for emergency departments and hospitals is growing but the funding is not increasing. We have to provide services in a different way.

“We think we can provide better services on less sites but we want to hear from the local community on our approach. No decisions have been made about locations or closures and we will consult fully on any major service changes.”

The Sustainability and Transformation Plan includes a focus on preventing ill health, training more care workers and moving away from what the NHS calls an “outdated” hospital based model. It claims that 60 people a day are staying in a bed at Royal Cornwall Hospitals who do not need to be there, with 35 per cent of community hospital beds being used by people who are fit to leave.

There are also plans to reduce the number of out of county mental health placements, a high priority in a county with higher than average levels of mental health issues where five per cent of people report long term problems.

The NHS aims to expand the roles of pharmacists, practice nurses, health care assistants, therapists and other practitioners to reduce pressure on GPs, while recruiting more GPs as around 20 per cent are expected to retire within five years.

The NHS wishes to reduce five factors, which include alcohol, smoking, physical inactivity, diet and social isolation - which contribute to five diseases, which cause 75 per cent of premature death and disability.

Phil Confue, senior responsible officer for the Sustainability and Transformation Plan and chief executive of the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “In the next five years, we have a once in a generation opportunity to change the way we provide health and social care services for the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

“The current health and social care system needs reform and we must seize the moment. Lifestyles, communities and technology have changed and our approach has become outdated and fragmented.

“Local services must adapt to meet the needs of the current and future population - including those who visit our region each year. We must put more focus and resources into preventing ill health, keeping people in their homes or communities and adapting services for a growing, ageing and technology enabled population.

“We want to continue to involve the local community in developing the solutions in the months ahead and we want to hear from as many people as possible on the priorities and approach we are taking. The time and opportunity has come to take control and shape our own future.”

Residents can find out more about the draft plans and the opportunities to have their say at www.cornwall.gov.uk/shapethefuture   

By Warren Wilkins 7th December 2016

Karen Flannigan 8th December 2016 10:21
We need to keep Newquay hospital open, it is a vital service for people all around the area.
Rebeccs fenner 8th December 2016 14:56
Newquay needs a minor injury unit and the hospital. We are a large town I´d like to know how the government think treliske can manage all other patients when it´s already struggling.
Sim Harris 8th December 2016 21:42
The Voice covers the housing developments around the town very well -- including Nansledan. How on earth can a town with a projected future population of at least 35,000 -- and 100,000 or more in the peak summer -- rely on the already overloaded facilities in Truro? This proposal needs to be fought.
Andy kelly 9th December 2016 09:38
Newquay hospital closing would mean prolonged waits for the treatment of those most vulnerable i.e the older members of our community. In the case of AandE access at certain times of year such as high season the excessive time to get treatment would prove potentially disastrous.
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