Huge expansion sees new beds at Ipswich brain injury centre

Sue Ryder The Chantry in Ipswich. Picture: DEBBIE HUMPHRY

Sue Ryder The Chantry in Ipswich. Picture: DEBBIE HUMPHRY

Debbie Humphry

A brain injury centre in Ipswich is to increase in size to help growing numbers of people with head injuries.

Jo Marshall, centre director at Sue Ryder The Chantry. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJo Marshall, centre director at Sue Ryder The Chantry. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sue Ryder and Ipswich Hospital joined forces with Suffolk's clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to set up The Chantry Neurological Care Centre in Ipswich last year.

The move was a response to growing numbers of people needing treatment for neurological conditions, in part brought about because of improved care at hospitals helping more people to survive the initial stages of brain traumas.

The centre at Chantry Park helped to prevent patients from going abroad or staying in hospital for treatment - but started with just three rooms providing intensive therapy.

However the centre, which was given an overall "outstanding" rating in its first inspection by healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC), has now been given the go-ahead to expand to a 32-bed centre.

One of the rehabillitation rooms at the Sue Ryder centre Picture: ERICA REESOne of the rehabillitation rooms at the Sue Ryder centre Picture: ERICA REES

Jo Marshall, centre director at The Chantry, said: "We remain the only provider for highly complex needs in Suffolk.

"By working collaboratively with Ipswich Hospital and Ipswich East Suffolk and West Suffolk CCGs, we are now in a positon to expand our specialist rehabilitation service offering it to more local people who need it.

"I am delighted that this work alongside our other service provision at The Chantry has been recognised as 'outstanding' in our recent CQC inspection report.

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"As well as the specialist rehabilitation service, Sue Ryder The Chantry will continue to provide medium and long-term care for people with complex neurological disabilities as well as day and community services."

The 12-week rehabilitation programmes by the expert healthcare team at The Chantry has already helped several patients regain the ability to walk and move, as well as improve their social skills and confidence.

Because of the link-up between Sue Ryder and Ipswich Hospital, patients at The Chantry have been able to continue treatment with the same therapists they saw in hospital.

Information between the Sue Ryder and the hospital is also shared to ensure patients receive the best care.

The service has helped people like Ray Baker, a business owner who sustained a life-threatening brain injury in a road accident.

Mr Baker was referred to Sue Ryder The Chantry following an extended stay in an acute hospital ward. Physiotherapists, occupational therapists, a speech and language therapist and a neuropsychologist created a tailored programme of therapy which enabled him to return home after five weeks.

"In hospital there had not been much in the way of physiotherapy support, but from my first day at The Chantry the staff got me working hard and I never looked back," Mr Baker said.

"I had two sessions a day in the physiotherapy gym and by the time I left I was able to walk using just two sticks - which was a triumph.

"I never had a bad day at the centre, everyone was absolutely brilliant."

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