Every one of five options on the table concerning the future Cornish cottage hospital would mean a downgrading of in-patient services, with two resulting in a complete closure, it has been revealed.
Health bosses in the county have this week unveiled a series of proposals for Poltair Hospital, near Penzance, where in-patient beds have been closed for over a year.
A total of five alternatives have been put up for consultation, with one meaning out-patient services would be enhanced and another with reduced in-patient levels.
However, a third would see the site offering out patient and outreach services only and two others would mean all services transferred and the hospital closed.
A series of public events are being held by NHS Kernow, the GP led group which purchases healthcare for patients, and Peninsula Community Health (PCH), which runs the cottage hospital estate in Cornwall.
Neil Walden, a family GP in Marazion and NHS Kernow’s clinical lead in west Cornwall, urged people to attend the meetings to have their say, adding no decisions had been taken.
“The five options that people are being asked to consider represent more than a year’s work with the community,” he said.
“We have listened to the public every step of the way and these five options are taken from what people have told us.
“We want everyone to get involved with this consultation, read the consultation document and consider which of the five options would best meet their health needs if they were using Poltair Community Hospital now and in the future.
“It’s really important that people understand the options and have their say to ensure their thoughts are counted.
“I want to reassure everyone that no decision has been made about the future of the hospital. We will listen to everyone’s views and only once the consultation has ended will NHS Kernow’s Governing Body made a decision.”
Poltair, along with Cornwall’s other cottage hospitals, has been run by private company PCH since autumn 2011.
However, in that time it has shut the in-patient beds at Poltair four times, with the latest closure ongoing since last October.
St Ives MP Andrew George has said the ongoing closure was merely a “process of resigning the community to a state of submission.”
Meanwhile health campaigners called for the consultation to be suspended after a series of high profile bed blocking incidents at the Royal Cornwall Hospital where patients could not be discharged because either a community place or social care package was not available.
The consultation will run until February 10 and local people are being asked to consider five options:
*Poltair is used for outpatient and outreach services only. In-patient beds would be provided at Edward Hain Hospital in St Ives and Helston.
*Poltair would return to near pre-September 2012 services with out-patient, outreach, in-patient services amounting to five beds. This would be less than the previous 10 beds available to comply with safety guidelines.
*Poltair would feature out-patient and outreach services only, but an increased number.
*The closure of Poltair with services relocated to West Cornwall Hospital, less than a mile away in Penzance.
*The closure of Poltair with services spread around other community hospital venues in the area.
The first public event will be on Wednesday, December 11, at St John’s Hall in Penzance, from 6pm-7.30pm.
Consultation packs are available from NHS Kernow; GP practices in West Cornwall; libraries; council one-stop shops; West Cornwall Hospital and online at www.kernowccg.nhs.uk/poltair