Still Problems With Hospital Discharge For Islands’ Patients

Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske. Photo © Copyright Tony Atkin

The Islands’ health watchdog says there are still some issues with discharging Scilly-based patients from mainland hospitals.

Carol Clarke from LINk4Scilly said there had been a lot of effort to increase awareness of the problems faced by islands’ patients with accommodation and travel following discharge and the situation had improved with clear guidelines now in place.

Carol said senior staff were very supportive, but the message wasn’t always reaching staff on the wards.

She said there were reports of a “complete lack of understanding” by some ward staff and even resentment about what’s perceived to be special treatment offered to Scilly residents.

Carol said hospital staff can get advice about how to deal with Isles of Scilly residents by ringing the travel office in Treliske and that means they don’t have to spend too much time trying to find information.

They’re planning to put posters up in the wards to increase awareness of that service too.

Carol said they’re also still ironing out some problems with the new travel warrant system based on feedback from people using it.

Councillor Richard McCarthy said he was worried the travel system could get worse after October when the helicopter service moves to Newquay.

Carol said patients are being given the choice of which operator they book, it’s just a case of requesting that when they obtain their travel warrant.

Councillors also discussed the recent case where a visitor was flown off the islands in an emergency, but didn’t get any assistance to return when discharged later that day.

Carol confirmed that only residents can receive help with repatriation through the travel warrants system. Visitors need to use their travel insurance for that.

However, she said there is currently a ‘grey area’ for seasonal workers and they’re trying to clarify that situation.