Consultation begins on future of Poltair Community Hospital
DOCTORS, nurses, councillors and health campaigners met last week to share their ideas on the future use of Poltair Community Hospital.
The day-long workshop at the One Stop Shop in Penzance marked the start of the consultation to consider the hospital's future use – and came as the campaign to get it reopened intensified.
During the workshop, invited guests worked together in small groups to discuss some of the possible options for the hospital and their practicalities.
Using this information, NHS Kernow and Peninsula Community Health will now produce a consultation document containing all the options and any supporting information to help the public make an informed choice. This will be shared with the public when the second stage of the consultation begins in December.
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Neil Walden, a GP in Marazion and the locality lead for NHS Kernow, said: "The workshop marks the start of the consultation to consider the future use of Poltair Community Hospital.
"Absolutely no decision has been made about the hospital's future, which is why it is really important to bring together people who represent patients when considering how services are delivered and the needs of the people who use them, both now and in the future.
"We will also be running public events across west Cornwall during December and January to give people the chance to ask questions and express their views."
However there is a growing swell of opinion that consultation is unnecessary and that Poltair should be reopened.
Two weeks ago, The Cornishman highlighted the efforts of Richard Somerville, who has organised a petition which has so far been signed by 3,600 people, criticising Peninsula Community Health (PCH) over the fact that the hospital has been closed for almost a year.
Now Graham Webster, vice-chairman of the campaign group Health Initiative Cornwall, says it is "unthinkable" to consider shutting a community hospital at the same time that it has been revealed that dozens of patients at Royal Cornwall Hospital (RCH) cannot be discharged each day because ongoing care is unavailable.
"These beds are needed each and every day," he said.
"It is a scandal that Poltair has been allowed to stay closed for this long, but it is a bigger scandal that a permanent closure is even being considered.
"It is obvious that there are capacity issues – why are we therefore considering closing ten beds?"
To keep up-to-date with the consultation progress, see www.kernowccg.nhs.uk where a dedicated Poltair consultation page has been set up.