16th January 2017
By Rashleigh MacFarlane
Attempts to persuade people in Cornwall that it is a good idea to cut more than £260 million from the county’s health budget roll into Falmouth this afternoon (Monday.)
The latest leg of a travelling roadshow is to be staged at the National Maritime Museum between 3pm and 4.30pm.
The roadshow then rolls on to St Austell, at the St Austell Print Company conference centre, for another session between 7pm and 8.30pm this evening.
The “Sustainability and Transformation Plan” is trying to convince people that prevention is better than cure, and that if only they would pursue more healthy lifestyles then pressures on the NHS could be reduced. The STP is also keen to spread the word that up to 100 patients per day are being kept in hospital for no other reason than that there is no suitable care package for them at home or in the community.
Critics of the STP proposals say that budget cuts are a political choice, rather than a bureaucratic necessity, but health bosses point out that demand is outstripping the supply of NHS funds, leading to a gap of £260 million within five years. They have warned that non-clinical NHS jobs could be at risk, and are not ruling out the possibility that some community hospitals might close.
Similar roadshow presentations in Bude, Penzance and Bodmin have produced differing reactions, with the only firm indication being that meetings held at 3pm draw significantly smaller audiences than those held at 7pm.
There are further meetings tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Liskeard Public Rooms at 3pm, and on Wednesday at the Truro Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre, also at 3pm. The roadshow rolls into Heartlands, Pool, at 7pm on Thursday and then on to the Hotel Bristol, Newquay, for a “drop-in” session on Monday 23rd January 5pm-7pm.
Meanwhile an alternative way of discussing the issue of health service funding is again due to take place in Penzance, when former St Ives MP Andrew George hosts a meeting at 7.30pm on Wednesday at The Exchange Gallery.