The Labour Party in Falmouth have been scaring people about the closure of Falmouth hospital for some time. Each time they make these claims I take them up with our local NHS Commissioners and each time they say they do not have plans to close the hospital.
I agree with the NHS staff when they tell me that the rumours are deeply unhelpful and untrue and that they are concerned it will put people off seeking medical treatment.
My family and I have visited the MIU and know what an effective service it provides. Just after Christmas I visited my local GP in Falmouth and was referred to Falmouth hospital for an X-ray. I received quick and good quality care from both my GP surgery and Falmouth Hospial. Like most local families I depend on our local NHS and will continue to work hard to ensure we have high quality local NHS services.
Jackie Pendleton, NHS Kernow’s Chief Officer, made a statement on behalf of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly health and care system regarding the rumours:
“At a time when our urgent care system is under such pressure, we would expect to be able to rely on our local stakeholders and media partners to support us in encouraging the public to use services, like minor injury units, as an alternative to the emergency department.
It is therefore really disappointing that Mr Levin has published a report that has so many factual inaccuracies and suggests to the public that their local minor injury unit is under threat of imminent closure. This is simply not true and this scaremongering could cause unnecessary confusion amongst the public at a time when we are encouraging people to use the right service.
We strongly refute Mr Levin’s claims that we are pursuing a policy to close Cornwall’s MIUs and would like to reiterate the factual statements we have made previously:
- NHS England has asked us to indicate which of our current health facilities were closest to the national specification for an urgent treatment centre and have the potential to be designated by March 2018. NHS England understand, and my briefing to Governing Body was explicit that the identification of these sites in no way pre-determines the decision about the number and location of future treatment sites in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. We shared this information with the public, via our board papers, to ensure maximum transparency.
- Absolutely no decisions have been made about the number and future locations of urgent treatment centres (formerly referred to nationally as urgent care centres) and any other community alternatives to the emergency department.
- We have a statutory duty to consult with the public before making any decision about a significant change to the delivery of a service. We are still in the process of working with clinicians, stakeholders, and people who use services on the re-design of our urgent care system and we intend to begin the third round of co-production workshops next month.
Details of any consultation will be promoted via the press, our partners and online to ensure people are able to have their say. No decision will be made before this process has ended and the evidence collected during any consultation has been examined.
We continue to encourage anyone who needs medical help to contact their own GP or pharmacy in the first instance; ensure anyone with a long-term condition, is pregnant or cares for someone has had their flu jab, and encourage friends and relatives to have theirs; continue to use our minor injury units and urgent care centre at West Cornwall Hospital, wherever possible instead of the emergency department; and phone NHS 111 when your GP surgery is closed and you need advice that can’t wait until it re-opens.
Details of all the services, including opening times, contact numbers and live waiting times for MIUs and the emergency departments at Treliske and Derriford, are available online at www.kernowccg.nhs.uk
We would like to thank everyone who is helping us by using the right service and keeping the emergency department free for life threatening emergencies.”