Patients ‘imprisoned’ by faulty lift at Bluebird Lodge Community Hospital, Ipswich

Blue Bird Lodge, pictured prior to its opening 11 years ago. Pic: Clifford Hicks.

Blue Bird Lodge, pictured prior to its opening 11 years ago. Pic: Clifford Hicks.

A Suffolk couple have been separated for months because of a faulty hospital lift, which left the 84-year-old wife “imprisoned” in her room.

June Mann was admitted to Bluebird Lodge Community Hospital, Ipswich, in May to rehabilitate following a stroke several years ago.

Her daughter, Jane Scoggins says the hospital’s only lift has been out of action most of the time since, meaning her father, Reg Mann, 85, who has dementia, has been unable to see his wife of more than 60 years.

Mrs Scoggins, 54, who lives in Broke Hall, Ipswich, said her mother “feels like a prisoner” trapped in her first-floor ward all day. She says her father, who lives in a care home in Ipswich, had been “very upset” as he fails to understand why he cannot see his wife. Although they have talked on the phone, Mrs Scoggins says their conversations often ended in tears.

The hospital, which was built 11 years ago, has 28 patients staying on its first and second floors, most receiving treatment for long-term conditions or end of life care. NHS Property Services, which is responsible for the building, said repairs to the lift should be completed today.

However Mrs Scoggins claims there have been regular repairs over the past few months, none of which resolved the problem permanently. “It’s been horrendous,” she added. “It’s gone on for far too long, it should have been sorted before but it hasn’t. I just find the whole thing very frustrating.”

A spokesperson for NHS Property Services, said: “We fully recognise the concerns of patients, staff and visitors and have put significant effort and investment into keeping the lift in good working order, despite intermittent problems. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and will continue to work closely with Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust and Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG to look at potential options for an additional lift and upgrade of the current lift, to ensure that lift services are fully available at all times.” Ipswich Hospital, which is responsible for healthcare services, but not the building, said “we have been doing our very best to help the situation”.

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