Last weekend I visited St Michael’s Hospital in Hayle to see the recent investment in new facilities that is now allowing the majority of orthopaedic work in Cornwall to be transferred from Treliske to Hayle. St Michael’s has always had an exceptional reputation for its role as a centre of excellence on breast cancer with new investment made about eight years ago and the leading reputation of some of the surgeons who work there. In recent years there have periodically been scare stories that the future of the hospital is in doubt. However, far from losing services, more are being transferred there.
There has always been some orthopaedic work done at St Michael’s but the lack of adequate isolation units for patients who develop infections or complications meant that patients who were judged to be higher risk tended to be operated on at Treliske. The new investment made last year with the building work completed at the beginning of this year means there are now three isolation rooms which have enabled far more hip replacements and other similar operations to move to St Michael’s from Treliske.
One of the key ways to stabilise Treliske Hospital is to take some of the unnecessary burdens off it. It has been under intense pressure with an exponential rise in demand. Steps can include reducing the pressure on A&E by introducing additional critical care units at other sites so that people with minor injuries can be treated without creating a burden on the main A&E service. There are also many routine operations that are far better managed at satellite sites run by the RCHT, like St Michael’s, leaving Treliske to focus its energies on its core function as an acute hospital for the more risky operations and emergencies.
The NHS is a great British institution and the dedicated staff who work in it show tremendous commitment and this was evident as always at St Michael’s last week. Earlier this week, the Prime Minister was in Cornwall to visit Treliske and meet staff there to talk about some of the issues they have faced. Boris Johnson recently announced some major new investments in Treliske to upgrade facilities such as the maternity services. The hospital has had its share of problems in the past but is starting to turn the corner and it was good that Boris Johnson took the opportunity of a visit to Cornwall to meet NHS staff.
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