St Michael’s Hospital: “Use it or lose it”- George urges local health chiefs to “protect the future of our local hospitals”

Posted on: 21st July 2014

West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, (while visiting St Michael’s Hospital in Hayle today) will reinforce his call to local health chiefs to make sure that neither West Cornwall nor St Michael’s Hospitals (in Penzance and Hayle respectively) are jeopardised as many of their core services are put to open tender.

Mr George will be accompanied by Hospitals’ Trust Chief Executive, Lezli Boswell when he tours the hospital (commencing at 11am today).

Mr George, who led a Parliamentary campaign against the Government’s Health and Social Care Act and opposed the last Labour Government’s opening up on NHS services to private companies, warned against “putting profit before patients”.

Mr George said: “Many procedures which will be put out for open tender are core services provided at West Cornwall and, in the case of orthopaedics, are crucial to the future viability of St Michael’s Hospital.

“Of course, I understand that commissioners like NHS Kernow are obliged to put many core non-urgent services out to open tender, but I am urging them to take account of the risk of undermining the future of either or both West Cornwall and St Michael’s Hospitals. What they may believe they will gain by offering patients a wider choice, will, in effect, become a false economy if this undermines the future viability of a core NHS service admired and appreciated by all.

“We must protect the future of our NHS. We must protect the future of our hospitals, staff, services and therefore, patient requirements. Of course I can understand why private companies want to cherry pick the more profitable NHS work and the easiest and least complex procedures, but this leaves our NHS hospitals with the most challenging work, but on a diminishing budget.

“If locals don’t want this to lead to the closure of valued local NHS hospitals they must understand that they must “use it or lose it”.

Mr George has already made representations to NHS Kernow urging them to reflect on the “potential consequences” of their decisions. Mr George will be meeting NHS Kernow next week