This morning's Cornish Guardian carries a story about the loss of clinics from our local hospitals at Launceston and Liskeard. Over the past couple of years a couple of clinics have been lost from Launceston and six have gone from Liskeard.
The clinics lost provide a very wide range of services including ear, nose and throat; rheumatology, dermatology and orthopaedics. If these services aren't available locally then patients have to travel to Derriford or Treliske to get them.
I have to give credit to Callington Town Council for digging up this information because the changes seem to happen with almost no publicity.
We want an NHS which provides high quality services which are accessible to people in their local hospitals wherever possible. As an example, I know of one patient in Bodmin who needs cataract surgery. She was told that she would have to travel all the way to Hayle to be given a pre-operative assessment and to Treliske for her operation, despite the fact that she doesn't drive. She was told that 'all pre-op assessments for cataracts are done in Hayle'. That simply isn't true and she has now been given an assessment and operation date in Bodmin - hugely more convenient for her. But her case shows that, all too often our NHS is concerned about target times rather than what is right for the patient.
We're calling on the local Primary Care Trust to guarantee the current clinics at Launceston Hospital and to tell us what other services they are putting in to our local facility.