Islanders Invited To Help Shape New Hospital Trust

RCHT Chairman, Martin Watts

Islanders are being invited to help shape local hospital services delivered by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust.

They are holding elections for their new Council of Governors as a step towards achieving NHS Foundation Trust status in 2013.

Trust status will allow RCHT, which operates Treliske, West Cornwall and St Michael’s hospitals, to expand it’s operations. They would be likely to challenge Peninsula Community Health for the franchise to run St Mary’s hospital and other community hospitals in Cornwall in 2016, when they gain the new status.

Chairman Martin Watts says the new way of governing the Trust will ensure NHS services in Scilly and Cornwall are guided by locals. The governor for Scilly would be expected to represent islanders’ views.

The government was only prepared to let RCHT apply for foundation status when they got on top of their debts. When Martin spoke to islanders at the Town Hall in October 2011, the Trust was heavily in debt and there was a real threat that it could be taken over by another Trust.

Martin says their finances have improved recently and the Department for Health is now satisfied with their progress. Payment of any outstanding debt, around £20m, would also be rescheduled if they gained Trust status.

The Trust is now seeking nominations for the one public seat that will be offered for Scilly. A second seat has been offered for a representative from the Council.

In total there will be eleven elected, five staff and five appointed partner governors on the Trust’s council.

The council will represent locals’ views but will not be an executive body – that role is taken by the Trust’s Board.

Patients, staff, the public and carers need to become members of RCHT first. They are then able to nominate themselves for election to the Council of Governors.

Nomination packs are available from Caroline Hinchcliffe, on 0208 889 9203.