Community hospital contracts must be reviewed

Local MP, Andrew George, will call for Community Hospitals’ contract to be reviewed when he meets the new health services commissioning chiefs in the coming days.  The company which currently holds the community hospital and health services contract is Peninsula Community Health; a community interest company formed 18 months ago from the transfer of services from the Primary Care Trust under requirements which go back to the previous Labour Government.

Mr George had already raised concerns about the closure of Poltair Hospital inpatient beds with both the outgoing Primary Care Trust and the incoming Clinical Commissioning Group – NHS Kernow.

Whilst he will be meeting the new Commissioning Chiefs as they take up the reins in the coming days, Mr George said:  “The existing contract is not fit for purpose.  They are not contracted to make sure they have enough beds but, according to the PCT, ‘on inpatient activity’ on which, again according to the PCT, ‘they are currently delivering to contract, despite bed closures’!  While they satisfy themselves on meeting their contract pressure intensifies at Treliske and at West Cornwall hospitals.

“Therefore, in spite of the fact that they have cut beds and heaped pressure on the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, they are not breaching their contract.

“Clearly, the contract is not fit for purpose and should be urgently reviewed by the incoming Health Commissioner, NHS Kernow.

“Although NHS Kernow is currently undertaking a review of community services – including into the number of hospital beds – in West Cornwall, this is a matter of some significant urgency and I hope that the new health chiefs will recognise the importance of giving the contract an urgent fresh look.”

Mr George will also write to the Chair of PCH, Michael Williams.  This is a matter which Mr George raised with health campaigners at last Friday’s Mayors Healthcare Campaign Partnership meeting.  He shared his notes and correspondence and offered to keep them informed.  The Mayors Healthcare Campaign Partnership will support calls for the contract review.

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