In-patient beds at Edward Hain Community Hospital in St Ives were temporarily closed in February 2016 due to concerns about fire safety.
The community hospital has continued to provide mental health and podiatry clinics for 2 days each week. The Governing Body’s decision comes after careful consideration of all the work with local people over more than 18 months to review the future use of the Edward Hain Community Hospital.
Governing Body members listened to and considered all feedback received including the results of an evaluation made up of a panel of representatives of the local community alongside experts working across health and care.
Members of the Governing Body also considered the feedback given by the community during 4 weeks of extra engagement with the wider public, and the proposals from Cornwall Council’s Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
NHS Kernow presented its findings for the Edward Hain Community Hospital to the scrutiny committee last week (Wednesday 25 November). Councillors were supportive of a move towards a more community based model of care, and the strengthening of the service offer from West Cornwall Hospital but expressed some concern about the loss of reablement and rehabilitation beds in Penwith, particularly while the new model care for the area is in development. Members were particularly concerned about some people receiving care in community hospital beds further from home due to the pressures on beds, currently exacerbated as a result of bed distancing measures required to deliver COVID-safe care.
Iain Chorlton, GP and chairman of NHS Kernow Governing Body, said: “I would like to thank the people in Penwith for helping us to understand their health needs and to fully consider the future of Edward Hain Community Hospital.
“I’d also like to thank the scrutiny members for their diligent review of our approach and the conclusions we have reached. We are also grateful for their thoughtful proposals which we have reflected in the actions we have agreed today. We are committed to making sure more people receive care in their own home without the need to travel. We’re also putting more support in place to help people regain the skills they need to stay independently at home, through reablement community services.
“The recommendation that was presented to the Governing Body was that Edward Hain Community Hospital in St Ives should close permanently and after very careful consideration of all the evidence we agreed that Edward Hain Community Hospital is not viable for health and care provision and the hospital will close permanently.
“As such we will continue to develop a local model of care which will treat people closer to, or in their own homes, led by Penwith Primary Care Network and in collaboration with Penwith Integrated Care Forum.
“We will also review the number of beds across the county taking into account significant recent service developments to provide more support in people’s homes, accelerated by our response to the pandemic, and consider how a new care home opening in Penzance impacts on the short term reablement support available within Penwith. The care home will provide 28 beds in line with national expectations, similar to other care homes across the county which focus on people who have been determined as clinically well to leave hospital but need extra support. The intended length of stay for individuals will be up to 6 weeks, free at the point of delivery regardless of ongoing funding arrangements. Some beds will be for people with dementia and complex care needs. This will increase bedded reablement capacity in the west of Cornwall, and addresses some of the committee’s concern.
“We recognise the important role played by Edward Hain Community Hospital. It has cared for people’s families for almost a century. We appreciate the comfort people take from hospitals near where they live. Our decision about the future of the hospital in no way detracts from its role so far.”
Dr Neil Walden, Edward Hain Community Hospital engagement project clinical lead, echoed Dr Chorlton’s last comment and thanked the large number of people who have given much time and commitment in terms of developing this engagement process and evaluation.
“I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone involved.
“The Penwith Primary Care Network, as part of the West Integrated Care Area, will continue their work with the local community, and health and care teams in Penwith. This co-production approach will continue the creation of a health and care model providing care in and around people’s homes or as close as possible to where they live.”
We have shared the feedback received from people who use the current community clinics at Edward Hain Community Hospital to the organisation who runs these, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT). This will help CFT plan the best location to relocate the clinics. People who use these services will be kept informed of plans.
Amanda Stratford, chief executive of Healthwatch Cornwall, said: “Public engagement with communities is imperative to enable all residents in Cornwall to share their views and experience with health and care providers. We welcome the inclusive and transparent approach enabled by NHS Kernow to determine the future of community services and Edward Hain Community Hospital. We believe this should set a standard for engaging with local people.”
“In relation to working with local residents on the future of Edward Hain Community Hospital, it has been excellent to see the diverse and clearly designed range of engagement methods deployed by NHS Kernow enabling people to share their views on how closure would impact them – notably virtual public meetings being accessible to residents. It has also been important to see that lines of communication with people who are unable, or choose not to, engage digitally are maintained. We will encourage the uptake and use of more digital channels as part of engagement methods moving forward – particularly at this time when it is more difficult to see people face to face.”