By Peter Tremayne, Cornwall Reports
The long-awaited return of overnight emergency NHS treatment in the Bude area is due to happen on Friday, Cornwall Reports understands, after the promised launch of a new Community Treatment Centre at Stratton hospital appeared to have been delayed.
Health chiefs told local councillors last month that the new service would start “at the beginning of August” and run, for a trial period, until 31st March 2020. In recent weeks local campaigners have been asking questions about it on social media.
The pioneering new approach was intended to replace the overnight Minor Injuries Unit, which the Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust withdrew in December last year. The unit now closes at 10pm, leaving locals with a long journey if they need emergency treatment.
The Trust’s website shows that Stratton Hospital is still classed as a Minor Injuries Unit which closes at 10pm, but officials hope that an information leaflet will help locals know about the new service. There will be a use-it-or-lose-it element to the Community Treatment Centre as health chiefs have sought to justify the withdrawal of overnight cover by claiming there was only low demand.
A Trust press release last month confirmed that a long campaign to restore overnight services in the Bude area, had been successful. Health chiefs confirmed the promise at a meeting with local councillors a few days later, stating explicitly that the Community Treatment Centre would open “at the beginning of August.”
Phil Confue, Chief Executive from Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said in July, “We are delighted to have found a potential solution which will benefit people in the far North of the County and also our neighbours over the border in Devon.
“Providers and the local community have worked together to develop a solution which will help people to feel safe and make best use of the resources currently available overnight by working differently. We are also exploring how we can work with colleagues in North Devon to ensure this resource offers maximum benefit for people who live locally.”
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust confirmed that it will continue to recruit nurses to work locally, where necessary supporting them to complete the additional minor injury training while the Community Treatment Centre model is tested.
Mr Confue said that to allow the Community Treatment Centre to be fully tested and evaluated in partnership with the local community, the service will operate until the end of March 2020. If the approach is successful, it would become permanent.
Cornwall Reports understands that the new centre had been ready to open a few weeks ago, but that the necessary senior managers needed to first hold a meeting today (Wednesday) to sign off with their final approval. It appears that any “opening” on Friday could be low-key.