MP stands up for town minor injuries unit
“OVER MY dead body” St Austell’s MP Steve Double has insisted, after it was revealed that the town’s minor injuries unit at the community hospital is under threat of closure.
As part of a major overhaul of Cornwall’s NHS, St Austell is one of 12 of Cornwall’s minor injuries units which face being shut down.
The closures are being proposed under the Sustainability and Transformation Plan, which claims the NHS could be £264m in debt by 2020/21.
There are no specific details about the proposed changes in the 87 page document, which explains: “We propose to replace the current minor injury units with a new model of strategically located urgent care centres across the spine of Cornwall.
“The centres will provide enhanced, consistent and resilient clinical cover to meet the urgent care needs of all residents and visitors.
“We will develop a detailed options appraisal to move to a new model of urgent care centres, consulting on the detailed configuration of specific sites.
“This will enable us to start to implement the agreed model in Spring 2018.”
A spokesman from Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust confirmed to the Voice that there would be fewer minor injuries units as part of the changes, and could not guarantee the future of St Austell’s MIU.
They said: “There are no firm plans at the moment regarding the minor injuries units.
“As part of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), expressed in the engagement document doing the rounds recently is about investing in the minor injuries units, or some of them, to turn them into urgent care centres.
“It’s not so much a case of closing them, but in investing in some areas.
“That work and detail isn’t really there at the moment and staff are working on it with different people to see how resources might be tailored.
“There would end up being less minor injuries units. No one knows where or what or when yet.
“It will be around the summer time, probably in June, before any proposals will be finalised. They will be really significant changes so a public consultation will be held around that time.”
Mr Double said he would do everything within his power to ensure local hospital services were protected.
He said: “I was concerned, as I am sure many local residents were, to hear the future of St Austell Minor Injury Unit (MIU) is under threat. My initial response was ‘over my dead body’.
“I have previously placed on record my belief that our local community hospitals play a vital role in providing accessible health services to our local communities this includes MIUs.
“This included a formal response in February to the NHS’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) in which I emphasised the important role these facilities play in mid-Cornwall.
“In none of my meetings with the leadership of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the part of the NHS responsible for Community Hospitals, has there ever been any suggestion that St Austell’s MIU was under threat of closure or downgrading.
“Whilst I accept that a comprehensive review of NHS services needs to include all facilities, I do not believe that closing or downgrading the hospital in Cornwall’s biggest population centre makes any sense at all.
“In my view all this would result in is even more pressure being placed on the already overloaded RCHT and create even more inefficiency and inferior service.
“As I have said previously, in my view we need to be placing more services in community hospitals not less.
“I will be making my views known to those responsible for these decisions and will do everything within my power to ensure our local hospital services are protected.”
- 9th March 2017 19:18
- It is a very big mistake to even think of closing down Community Hospitals/MIUs. It would ultimately put more pressure on the RC Hospital which is already at breaking point. Big isn´t beautiful, it never was, never will be, and doesn´t work and that includes the new Doctors set up in St. Austell.