New services are set to increase the use of Edward Hain Hospital in St Ives this winter as part of a pilot scheme designed to give greater support to local people, getting them home from hospital quickly and safely and helping to avoid repeat admissions.
The hospital’s prevention and re-ablement services, including falls prevention, physiotherapy, social and massage therapies and bathing facilities, will be provided during the day by a range of providers, including the NHS, Age UK, Volunteer Cornwall and Active Plus.
The scheme will be launched on 10 December, initially for three and a half days a week, but it is hoped that the provision will be increased over time with the hospital eventually opening seven days a week from 8am to 5pm.
The pilot scheme was proposed in October at a meeting of the Edward Hain Group, formed by West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas and local Cornwall Councillor Richard Robinson to seek solutions for a short term pilot, while options for the longer term future of the site are being developed, and has been worked up by Rachel Murray, from the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group.
She said: “I hope that the scheme being proposed will be of great benefit to the local community and at the same time stay true to the aspirations and spirit of the Edward Hain legacy.
“To get to the stage we have in just a few weeks is testament to the hard work and co-operation of a whole range of organisations – this has been a joint effort, with Age UK, Volunteer Cornwall, Active Plus, the Council, NHS, NHS Property Services, local GPs and Pengarth and Hayle day centres all contributing.”
Several Friends of Edward Hain were at the meeting when details of the winter pilot scheme were unveiled and said that ways in which the Friends might support the project are likely to be discussed by them this week.
Cllr Robinson, who chairs the group meetings, said he hoped that the initial project would lead to the hospital being used by increasing numbers of people. “The first step is clearly to get something up and running and then, when people see the value of the work going on here, more services will follow,” he said.
“I am very surprised and delighted that we are as far ahead as we are in terms of what needs to be done to get the building fit-for-purpose and, once the whole building is available, there is room for so much more; I believe that the pilot project will quickly prove itself and that the hospital will have a long-term role to play.”
Other ideas for what Edward Hain could be used for in the future include the hospital hosting a Leg Club, a Memory Café, a mental health crisis café and a gardening club as well as acting as a base for local care staff in St Ives and as a centre for a transport co-ordinator, helping people to access the services they need.
Mr Thomas said he was delighted that the winter pilot project was about to get underway. “It is hugely encouraging that so many different bodies have worked collaboratively to get this project off the ground in such a short time,” he said.
“This is a great example of how big organisations are starting to be much lighter on their feet, reacting quickly to changing circumstances and working together.
“I, together with many health campaigners and professionals, still believe that there is a need for more community beds in West Cornwall.
“However, until the work is completed to establish what beds are needed and a long-term plan for health and social care services in Cornwall is drawn up in the form of the Shaping Our Future programme, I am delighted that the hospital will once again become a vital facility for the St Ives community.”