Health chiefs at Cornwall’s main hospital say that changes to services made to cope with the coronavirus outbreak are likely to remain in future.

Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) has made a number of alterations to how services are delivered to help prevent the spread of the virus and keep people safe.

These have included diverting trauma patients to St Michael’s Hospital in Hayle, having more services at community hospitals and holding online outpatient appointments.

The Trust has also been working in collaboration with other healthcare providers and Cornwall Council in ensuring that services are provided to those who need them.

Kate Shields, RCHT chief executive, told a meeting of the trust board this morning that there was a plan to have a scheme known as #nogoingback to make some of the changes permanent.

She said: “There have been really significant changes right across the whole of Cornwall because of the Covid concern.

“We have lots of services off the main Treliske site and working with our partners in the community trust and the local authority we have three co-ordinating care centres.

“That has helped us to make sure that 1,950 people are staying in their own homes and that is exactly what we should be looking to keep in place for our people in Cornwall.

“To augment those we have set up community hospital treatment units that are for older people who need tests and treatment. We have three set up and hope to have a fourth online to have a service across the county.

“It is a really exciting service that will ensure our most vulnerable people can be treated as close to their homes as possible.

“This is part of #notgoingback – if it works for our patients and the people of Cornwall we will keep it.”

The chief executive said that 60 per cent of outpatient appointments were being done virtually.

She added: “People won’t have to drive up the A30 or A38 to go to an appointment. It is fantastic and we will look to continue that.”

The board heard that while there had been a benefit to holding appointments virtually it was recognised that for some patients it is still better to meet face to face and that this would continue.