Temporary closure of Edward Hain Hospital


29th February 2016


Members of West Cornwall HealthWatch have understandably reacted with some despair, even cynicism, following the announcement on Friday that Edward Hain Community Hospital in St Ives is ‘temporarily’ closing its beds.  With Penwith still smarting over the closure of Poltair, and shortly after being told that no community hospitals would close for the next two years, the news that Edward Hain is currently unable to offer its twelve beds is most unwelcome.West Cornwall HealthWatch is struggling to understand why such an “in-depth fire safety review” was not carried out at the time of the extensive and costly renovation work funded by the League of Friends and only recently completed. Our specific concerns are that Replacing twelve beds in St Ives with seven beds in Camborne is not going to be ‘close to home’ for all the Penwith residents west of Hayle. We are apprehensive about what the advice of the ‘specialist fire safety engineer’ on remedial work will be, specifically the cost of such work and who   will pay for it.  It would be so easy then to conclude that such a cost was unaffordable. If this temporary closure becomes permanent, for whatever reason is given, then memories of the Poltair string of reasons, ‘consultation’ and eventual closure will spring immediately to mind.  Penwith had, until last Friday, just twelve community hospital beds for its residents, offering step-up step-down care, rehabilitation and terminal care.  Now, albeit ‘temporarily’, it has none.  With insufficient nursing homes or care at home available in the far west, options for caring for our most vulnerable patients are diminishing fast.We appreciate that the officlal statement issued is designed to allay fears and reassure the community.  Whilst we do not wish to be seen as ‘scare-mongering’, we nevertheless want to register our anxiety about this development at the earliest opportunity.  No-one could expect us to do any less.   

For reference: 

Statement issued

“Following a proactive fire safety review on Friday a phased temporary suspension of the inpatient beds at Edward Hain Community Hospital in St Ives has begun to allow remedial works to take place.

Five of the 12 inpatient beds, which are currently unoccupied, have been temporarily suspended, and the other seven inpatient beds will gradually be suspended during next week.Immediate mitigating measures have been put in place to assure the safety of the remaining patients, including the installation of additional smoke detectors, a revised evacuation plan and additional staff.

All other out-patient services operated by Peninsula Community Health (PCH) from the site will continue and patients should attend their booked appointments as normal.

PCH agreed to the temporary suspension of beds at the unit following a joint in-depth fire safety review with building owner NHS Property Services that highlighted concerns with fire safety measures.NHS partners are now working together to minimise disruption to patients and their families pending further expert advice to address concerns.

Ally Hardman, PCH Locality Manager for the west, said: “We are now working with our health and social care partners and patients and their families to ensure that patients can continue to be cared for as close to home as possible. This will include additional beds being made temporarily available at Camborne Redruth Community Hospital.“

We are committed to putting patient safety at the heart of what we do by providing quality community healthcare services which meet the needs of the community and are working to ensure that the works cause as little disruption to our patients as possible. We’d like to thank the hospital’s League of Friends and the local community for their support during this time.”

Dr Iain Chorlton, Chairman at NHS Kernow, said: “We have been notified by NHS Property Services and PCH of a phased temporary closure of the inpatient beds at the site due to essential fire safety work.“Partners in the local healthcare system are working closely to ensure that inpatients receive seamless high quality care elsewhere during this period. Patients and their families are being kept up to date on developments.“The decision is as a direct response to the fire safety issues raised and our priority at present is to ensure the safety of patients at the hospital.”

A spokesman for NHS Property Services said: “Beds are only closed when absolutely necessary. We are appointing a specialist fire safety engineer who will advise on the remedial work needed so the beds can be reopened as soon as possible.”