Patients say respite ward use ‘blocked’

Clifton Hospital
Clifton Hospital
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Health bosses have been slammed for the closure of the Windsor respite unit at Clifton Hospital – by service users who say new patients have been blocked from using it.

County Coun Liz Oades said she has asked for clarification over the closure of the unit, which offered respite care for carers, but has yet to receive a response from hospital trust bosses.

She said: “This is just what they did with the Wesham unit. They closed it and consulted afterwards.

“It is utterly disgraceful.

“There is no-one there to keep a check on them – they are all clinicians making decisions with no one else to call them into account.

“What they have done is dishonest and disgraceful. They say they are giving the money to the county for alternative services.

“But if carers are given a couple of extra hours’ care a week it’s not good enough.”

Maureen Barton, chairman of the Blackpool Fylde and Wyre branch of the MS Society: “They want to shut it.

“We’ve had people wanting to use it but being told they can’t because they’ve never used it before.”

Service user Charles Evans, from Poulton, told The Gazette: “The joint commissioning groups have given figures for the use of the Windsor Unit. These figures are of their own making.

“After the closure in January this year and the re-opening in May we advised the management of several people wishing to use the facility, in reply we were informed that only persons who had already used the unit would be invited to return, in effect keeping the numbers low.”

But a spokesman on behalf of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Blackpool CCG and Fylde and Wyre CCG, said: “During the assessment period a decision was made to honour the existing patient bookings at the Windsor Unit. Other people were given professional advice and support into how to access appropriate alternative care providers.”

And a spokesman for NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The CCG reviewed the use of the service at the Windsor Unit from January 2014 onwards. The levels of usage have not significantly changed.

“At no time has the CCG asked GPs to stop referring patients on to the service.

“The CCG has committed to reinvesting the funding – in excess of £150,000 – into existing carer support services provided by Lancashire County Council.”

They said no further statements would be made after The Gazette asked why service users reported not being able to access the service before the consultation was finished.