NHS fears over “staycation boom”

Fears are growing for the ability of health services in the Westcountry to cope with a predicted influx of hundreds of thousands of tourists this summer.

From today’s Western Morning News

With coronavirus restrictions putting many foreign trips off-limits, around 23 million Britons are planning UK staycations this year.

Cornwall comes top and Devon in third place on a list of destinations chosen by staycationers as the best place for a break at home.

But the predicted influx has prompted renewed efforts by NHS Kernow, which provides health services in Cornwall, to issue a series of warnings to people all over Britain not to put the Duchy’s health system under strain when they come away.

Using national advertising, including promotions on the popular music-sharing website and app Spotify, health bosses hope to target younger visitors and make sure they know how to access healthcare without swamping already over-stretched services.

Pressure is building at Truro’s Royal Cornwall Hospital, where on more than one occasion this week more than 20 ambulances have had to queue outside the hospital’s emergency department.

Truro MP Cherilyn Mackrory said the hospital and its A & E department was not at crisis point, despite it being at ‘Opel-4’, or black alert – the highest level of pressure. She said the government was providing huge support to Cornwall.

Newquay and St Austell MP and a junior health minister Steve Double said getting on top of the post-pandemic crisis was “a national challenge and one we are experiencing in Cornwall as well.”