More Help For Hospital Recruitment Promised
Steve Jenkin was speaking at the recent Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, where he gave a report on the progress of Peninsula Community Health over the last year.
He said the recent Care Quality Commission evaluation of their hospitals across the region, including here in Scilly, had been very positive.
And he said the close working between hospital staff and other emergency services on the islands was impressive and probably saved the life of a gig rower who had a heart attack during the championships in May.
But he said recruiting staff to the islands had proved challenging, something that the CQC picked up in their report.
Steve said PCH is “actively looking” at the potential to buy a staff property in Scilly and is currently in conversation with the Duchy about this.
But he said other factors were also playing a part. PCH’s contract with the NHS runs out in March, which means there’s uncertainty in the organisation.
They haven’t been able to offer any pay increases or match the NHS pension scheme.
They’re also competing with other hospitals like Treliske, who offer new staff a £2,500 ‘golden handshake.’ PCH can’t afford that, said Steve.
His organisation is also trying to avoid islanders having to travel to the mainland for care. They’ve increased the number of intravenous treatments that are being provided on St Mary’s but he says he’d like to see more chemotherapy patients being offered this locally.
Hospital Matron Anita Bedford said the hospital had an unusual role in helping people who have been discharged from Treliske, but weren’t ready to return home to the off-islands.
They’ve been offering two or three nights in the hospital on St Mary’s for these patients en route, so that health providers on the islands can make sure everything is ready for them at home.
Anita feels this is a very good use of hospital resources.
Cllr Adrian Davis said Anita’s work at the hospital should be recognised, because she puts in many more hours than she’s paid. He warned that she’ll be difficult to replace when she retires.