Patients could be moved out

ELDERLY patients suffering with alzheimers could be moved out of a special ward at St Clements in a bid to create more care in the community.But one angry man has vowed to fight the closure of Brightwell Ward and say there is no way that his 88-year-old mother will be able to be looked after at home.

ELDERLY patients suffering with alzheimers could be moved out of a special ward at St Clements in a bid to create more care in the community.

But one angry man has vowed to fight the closure of Brightwell Ward and say there is no way that his 88-year-old mother will be able to be looked after at home.

And he fears that due to a lack of care home places in Suffolk, his mother could face a move as far away as Beccles or Leiston resulting in less family visits and an upheaval to her life.

However Martin Royal, director of strategy and partnerships for the Local Health Partnership which runs St Clements said that the plans were only in the very early stages and stressed that no-one's care would be compromised if the move went ahead.

He said that the move was being considered as new Government guidelines aims are to get more people treated and cared for at home or as close to their homes as possible instead of being in hospital for lengthy periods.

Mr Royal added that before anything went ahead a public consultation would have to take place which would involve the families and carers of any patients.

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He said: "We are living with Edwardian and Victorian buildings which are inappropriate especially for older people.

"What we are trying to do is work with Social Services to find appropriate placements for all the people in these inappropriate environments."

Mr Royal said that no decision has yet been made and cannot be made without putting the proposals out to consultation.

He said: "We are not going to force the issue.

"If patients have to go a long way away for care then that would not be considered an appropriate placement and it would not happen."

Mr Royal said any staff working on the ward, if it closed, were likely to be retrained to work in the community to boost numbers.

Already there are eleven community out reach teams in Suffolk and three more are hopefully being set up to prevent people needing hospital in the first place as well as dealing with crisis in the community and a team to help keep an eye on those people who have had to be cared for in hospital before to make sure they do not need it again.

But some are not convinced by the care in the community aim and the man whose mother may face being moved out of Brightwell Ward has said that he will not support it.

He said: "My mother has been deemed unfit to live on her own and has had to give up her council house she has nowhere to go.

"Quite frankly, care in the community does not work for the sort of people who are in Brightwell Ward - they are beyond that."

He said that his mother's social worker had been searching for a care home to take her for the last four or five months but the nearest ones are in Beccles and Leiston.

He said: "My mum is 88 and she has not gone completely in the head and she knows what is happening around her, she likes the staff and will know they are not there.

"She has got children, grand children and great grandchildren who all go to see her on a regular basis.

"If she had to go to Beccles it would be an 80 mile round trip and she might not see everyone as often."

He added that big questions needed to be asked about the future of the patients.

He said: "The way we are treating our older people is disgraceful."

n. Do you think it is a better idea to care for people in their homes? Write to us at Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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