This morning thousands of NHS staff are faced with the fact that the Trust they work for is in special measures and deemed to be inadequate. Firstly it is important to state that West Cornwall Hospital and St Michael’s Hospital are rated good. The main concern and criticism is focused towards the Truro site.
I am aware from patients and their families of some of the very serious problems that have occurred and a great deal of effort has been made to improve the support of staff, treatment and care of patients and to ensure that people who need an urgent care hospital bed get one, those who don’t should be discharged quickly. However, not enough has been done and there are many reasons that have led to today’s announcement.
The Management must and have accepted responsibility for the hospital’s failings and they are now under even greater pressure to put things right.
There are large numbers of frontline vacancies which served to increase the pressure on those on the wards and delivering care. More must be done to address these vacancies including ensuring staff have access to adequate and affordable housing. Furthermore, the Government is now addressing pay and has lifted the pay cap. This must be used to attract the staff we need.
There is still enormous pressure on beds because of a lack of community-based care. We must stop arguing between ourselves about Edward Hain Community Hospital and reopen the beds there.
Cornwall Council must step up and dramatically increase care packages and speed up the process. The Council received an extra £12m in April from Government because we recognise this priority.
GPs must be listened to more by NHS Managers. They have been working for years to develop locality plans (how health and social care should be provided). GPs are often the last to be consulted when it comes to improving patient care and reducing demand in urgent care.
Finally, the Philip Hammond and Jeremy Hunt must recognise that the transformation our health and care system needs will only be delivered with significant increases in spending on the NHS both in community and urgent care. It’s frankly ridiculous that we are discussing closing community beds as part of transformation without a clear plan of what should be provided for those who need step-down care.
The priority must be patient care every time.