A LEADING health campaigner said she was "very concerned for the residents of west Penwith" over the options outlined for the future of a local community hospital.
Poltair Hospital has been closed since October last year and on Monday a consultation period will start when people can view and comment on proposals put forward.
But, having already seen them, West Cornwall Healthwatch co-ordinator Marna Blundy said: "It is now even more vital that people take an active part in the consultation exercise which is about to begin."
Initially ten options for how best Poltair's community health services should be delivered were identified but five of them have been discarded on the grounds of affordability or safety.
Using Poltair for outpatient, outreach and inpatient services (ten beds) is ruled out on safety grounds.
And affordability is given as the reason why new builds, offering either all services or just outpatient services, will not be considered – likewise options offering increased capacity inpatient services or mobile community services.
This leaves five options which will be considered during the consultation process:
Poltair offering outpatient and outreach services only;
Poltair offering outpatient, outreach and inpatient services (five beds);
Poltair offering outpatient and outreach services only (with increased capacity);
relocation to West Cornwall Hospital;
relocation to other local health and/or community sites.
Ms Blundy believes ruling out the redevelopment of Poltair on grounds of cost is not an option. She said: "We (West Cornwall HealthWatch) believe that there is insufficient bed capacity in the community hospital sector, which has contributed to the problems experienced by the acute sector (Treliske).
"We also believe that not all patients can safely and adequately be cared for in their own homes, where home care is simply not in place – and will not be without truly massive investment.
"I note that options involving a new build or reopening ten beds have been discounted on grounds of 'affordability'.
"Frankly, we can't afford not to consider these. To deliver adequate care to growing numbers of frail, elderly people who need it is going to cost a lot of money – we have no other option."
The first of four events when people can have a say on the proposals took place last night at St John's Hall, Penzance.
Further events take place next Monday at the WI Hall, Church Street, St Just, at St Ives Leisure Centre on January 8 and at Committee Room 1, One Stop Shop, St Clare, Penzance on January 15.