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On the sixth day of Christmas, NSFT took away… dignity in old age

Scrooge 1951

Here’s the story ‘Harold’ wanted us to tell:

“Our Trust has already closed dementia and complexity in later life beds.  The idea appears sound: dementia intensive support teams will support people in their homes. Now that is all well and good for those who can be supported at home but sometimes it just isn’t possible and there are simply not enough beds or staff working in the community to make the system work. And, as always, cost-cutting takes priority over need and demonstrating that there is spare capacity to be closed. Here in Waveney, I heard an awful story about a person with dementia who needed an emergency admission during the night. But there were absolutely no beds anywhere. Wherever they looked, whoever they rang, there was no bed. In the end, a manager made the decision for them to go to the only place with any space: the 136 Custody Suite, which is supposed to be for use by the police rather than for the care of the elderly. I can’t believe we’re reduced to this. Staff did everything they could to maintain the person’s dignity but 136 Suites are really not supposed to be used for this. We shouldn’t be letting down people who have contributed to society for their entire working lives at their time of need towards the end of their lives.”

We’ve already written about the human impact of the closing of beds for dementia and complexity in older life in King’s Lynn. That husband’s dedication to his wife, witnessed by the CQC, is uplifting but should Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) be forcing people to endure this level of inconvenience at a time of family crisis? What about loving relatives who either cannot afford or are too frail to make long and expensive journeys? How can West Norfolk CCG and Great Yarmouth & Waveney CCG believe these are acceptable ways to treat local people?

NSFT’s own figures show that the number of beds for older people in Norfolk & Suffolk is already 29.8% below the national average. We live in a strange world where CCGs claim to believe in local accountability but not the provision of local beds.

2 thoughts on “On the sixth day of Christmas, NSFT took away… dignity in old age

  1. scattypuss says:

    Of course when one closes wards for the dementia intensive support team to fill that gap one would ensure that team is supremely well trained and fit to deal with anything thrown at them, and backed up with all the resources they might need. Wouldn’t one?

  2. m says:

    A few  weeks ago an 86yr old man needed  admission.   He was sectioned, and after FOUR hours of phone calls a bed was eventually found………. in SCUNTHORPE, yes, the nearest available bed to Norfolk and Suffolk was SCUNTHORPE.  However, there was no ambulance service able to take him, private or public.  So, his wife was removed for her own safety, and had to sleep in a chair in the lounge of the sheltered complex while he was locked into his flat.  This is NOT care in the community.  Its a disgrace.  The trust likes to see this  service user and carer’s experience as an  ‘exception’, but the fact is that it has become much more frequent than they would like to admit.

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