Extra staff drafted into Helston hospital wards
1:00pm Wednesday 10th October 2012 in News
Staff from other hospitals have been drafted in to help fill shortages at Helston Community Hospital.
Such is the need for help that all beds at Poltair Hospital in Madron, near Penzance, have been temporarily closed to allow for staff to be moved to Helston while long-term replacements can be found.
Edward Hain Hospital at St Ives and St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly have also received extra help. Poltair has in the region of 22 full time employees and those working in in-patient services are currently in discussions about who will placed within other hospitals.
Roughly two thirds of the staff will be working at other hospitals at any one time, with the rest continuing non in-patient services at Poltair. Peninsula Community Health, which runs all three hospitals and provides NHS community health services in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said Poltair currently had an “extremely low” number of patients currently using the beds, making this redeployment possible with “minimal” impact on patients.
Kevin Baber, chief executive of the company, described the decision to temporarily close Poltair as “regrettable”, but said: “We have reached the position where we have so few patients in Poltair at the moment that it makes sense to use the staff capacity we have to strengthen other sites.
“The temporary closure of any community hospital is regrettable but it makes sense to maximise bed availability in the West by concentrating resources on our other sites to ensure those beds can remain safely staffed and available.”
He said Peninsula was doing its best to recruit staff and now planned to take the recruitment drive nationally to bring people in from outside the county if necessary. The national recruitment campaign is expected to be launched within a fortnight. A spokesperson for Peninsula Community Health said: “We are confident that our proposed recruitment campaign will attract qualified community hospital staff to resolve on-going operational issues and bring our Helston Community Hospital team back to full strength.”
The hospital is consulting with affected patients and their relatives in a bid to ensure their medical needs can continue to be met locally.
Forty six community beds remain fully operational in West Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly.