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Hospitals left off the map 'just an error'

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: November 21, 2013

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HEALTH campaigners have raised fears for the future of Edward Hain community hospital after a map showing health services in Cornwall left off St Ives.

The map was produced by Peninsula Community Health (PCH) which provides NHS adult community health services in Cornwall and Scilly.

The map, in a fundraising leaflet, shows locations including Camborne, Helston, St Austell and Bodmin where PCH runs community hospitals.

But west of Helston is blank despite PCH managing St Ives' Edward Hain Hospital and Poltair Hospital in Penzance.

The map also leaves off Fowey, the site of another PCH community hospital.

PCH said it was an oversight and is not connected to any plans for the sites.

But one health campaigner said the omissions were crucial as they are the three locations she fears will face the axe if hospitals are threatened. Poltair is temporarily closed while a review of services is carried out.

West Cornwall Healthwatch's Marna Blundy said she was told hospitals with less than 20 beds were unsustainable. She said: "I fear the map inadvertently betrays a plan for the future, which will not include our smaller community hospitals, and which had until now not been made public.

"If, as we have been told, hospitals need a minimum number of beds – perhaps 20 – to be viable, then quite a few are at risk.

"Certainly Edward Hain falls into this category, alongside Poltair, which as we know, already faces a very bleak future. This would leave Penwith with no community hospital beds at all."

When Andrew George, MP, asked PCH chief executive Steve Jenkin for reassurances about the map, he was told PCH accepted it had "scored a bit of an own goal" but it was a "simple oversight".

A spokesman for PCH insisted that leaving Penzance, St Ives and Fowey off the map was "a really unlucky coincidence" in light of concerns around Poltair.

She said: "It's a simple oversight. There is no hidden agenda.

"It is a map showing the spread of our services across the county. It does not reflect any future plans."

The trust said the issue was highlighted before 2,000 leaflets had been distributed. They will now be reprinted with Penzance, St Ives and Fowey included.

The spokesman said: "We don't know the future of Poltair. There's a very thorough consultation going on. But there are no plans to do anything different at Edward Hain."

Chris Cocklin, chairman of The Friends of Edward Hain Hospital, said he had accepted the map was a mistake.

He said: "It's not as alarming as it immediately seemed, but it still tells you a lot about the health of the current management.

"I still think it's relevant that the chief executive issues a leaflet with a map which leaves off our hospitals."

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