From the editor: The real-life cost of decisions to scrap valuable NHS services in Norwich
- Credit: Copyright Archant Norfolk.
A few weeks ago I used this column to talk about a personal experience of a Norwich hospital unit which was earmarked for closure.
The Henderson Unit, based at the Julian Hospital, on Bowthorpe Road, was intended as a halfway house for patients who were medically fit to leave hospital, but not quite ready to go home.
The intention was for it to reduce bed blocking, which is causing so many problems for hospitals as they try to cope with the demand they face.
My own experience involved my granddad. Receiving treatment at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital following a stroke, a spell in the unit had left him feeling better than he had done in years.
It also meant that when he returned home, there was a longer period than previously, before he became ill again.
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Unfortunately, poor old Granddad has recently become poorly once more and has spent the last few weeks back on a ward at the NNUH. However, this time around there was no Henderson Unit to take care of him.
When the funding ran out, the hospital trust said it could no longer find the cash. Neither could any of the other public bodies with a remit to look after the health and well-being of its public.
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Lo and behold Granddad became a statistic. Instead of being able to head back to the unit where the staff and their care helped him so much, he was a bed blocker. Holding up a bed that someone else could be using.
While we have no complaints at all about the care provided by the staff at Norfolk's biggest hospital,
I'm sure even they would admit they are unable to match the level of attention he was given at the Henderson Unit.
It's a classic example of how decisions based on finance can have a real impact on people's lives.
Granted the NHS, a wonderful institution that we are lucky to have, has no bottomless pit, it has to make tough decisions about where to spend its cash.
But it seems ridiculous to be talking of a situation where a service that was so good, cannot be maintained.
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