George calls for Poltair closure rethink

Posted on: 15th January 2015

A&E crisis exposes risk of bed closures

Local MP, Andrew George, has spent this week questioning health chiefs about the impact of NHS hospital bed closures which have contributed to a crisis in accident and emergency services across the country.

Mr George says that unless the NHS is able to either re-open Poltair Hospital or replace that service with a new community hospital elsewhere in the community, Cornwall’s NHS will be faced with the risk of “major” incident status on a regular basis, putting lives at risk.

During exchanges in the Commons, Mr George has highlighted concerns which he raised going back to reports in 2006 when health chiefs recommended significant cuts in acute hospital beds.  Since then nearly half of all hospital beds have been cut.  Mr George argues that this has contributed significantly to the current A&E crisis.

Mr George said “Large scale bed closures are a false economy and will put lives at risk.  It would be better to either retain or replace community hospital beds like those at Poltair than to lose them at this stage.

“OECD figures show that whereas we have just 2.7 acute hospital beds per 1000 population the EU average is 4.9; Germany 8.2 and France 6.6.  It’s no wonder patients are stuck in our crowded A&E units with ambulances queuing outside!

“If the RCHT continues to face bed shortages because it is unable to discharge patients then expanding the “step-down” facilities available in our community hospitals will prove to be invaluable.  If anything, we should be building up our community hospital services. RCHT should be able to work in concert with our community hospitals – effectively on different sites of the same hospital – and with better joint working with primary and social care.”