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HONITON: Day centre changes would be a disaster

Thursday, 06 March 2014

Planned changes to the provision of day care services in Honiton would be a ‘disaster’ for patients and put extra strain on hospital staff, according to health professionals.
And elderly patients and carers who rely on day care services have said they do not know what they will do without the support.
St Michael’s Day Centre is under threat of closure as Devon County Council reassesses the options for day care provision, and staff and patients at Honiton Surgery have warned that the changes could have a negative impact on standards of care.
In a letter to Honiton town councillors on behalf of staff and patients at Honiton Surgery, Dr Daniel Murphy, said: “St Michael’s provides a vital service to some of the most vulnerable members of our community and in our opinion hugely reduces loneliness and isolation in the elderly population it serves.
“In addition, St Michael’s provides vital support to the carers, family and friends of vulnerable, elderly people – carers who frequently provide exhausting, low-paid and vastly under-appreciated care to individuals with dementia and significant medical needs.
“Within community, primary and secondary health care we are striving incredibly hard to raise standards of care, and to keep frail elderly patients at home for as long as is possible.
“In our opinion, the closure of St Michael’s would be a disaster for the elderly patients of Honiton, resulting in lower standards of care, and almost certainly increasing the rates of admission to hospital of elderly patients within our town.”
Hilda Harding, 91, visits St Michael’s as often as four days a week, and says she ‘has no idea’ what she will do if the centre is closed.
She said: “A lot of people think we just sit around talking but there is so much there for us to do. For us, it is a way to stay connected to the community.
“I have no idea what we will do if they go ahead and close it.”
Jackie Wadsworth, her daughter, cares for Mrs Harding at home, as well as her own husband who suffers from COPD emphezema, which causes breathing difficulties.
She said the changes would be a “major upheaval” for her mother and would make it even more difficult for her to provide care.
She said: “For a lot of people who use the centre, it is a real occasion. They spend a lot of time getting ready for the bus to come and pick them up and they really look forward to it.
“My mother brought me up single-handedly, working two jobs. And now she is being kicked out on the street. Elderly people could be cut off.”
Mrs Wadsworth also called for the whole community to respond the proposals, and encouraged members of the public as well as patients and carers to attend a consultation meeting at St Michael’s on Thursday, March 13th, starting at 5pm.
She added: “I do not think people realise the problems this is going to cause for people. The whole of Honiton should respond to the consultation – we need shopkeepers to get behind us too because these are the people who are their customers.”


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