Carlton Colville woman blasts mental health chiefs over cuts
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014
A woman whose husband suffers from dementia has criticised proposed cuts to mental health services in Waveney and Great Yarmouth, saying lives are being destroyed by measures designed to save money.
Terry Sale, 73, suffers from vascular dementia and lives at home with his wife Pat with support from social services and the dementia intensive support (DIS) team based at Carlton Court hospital in Carlton Colville.
He was diagnosed with the condition almost three years ago and, after suffering a rapid decline in recent months, required a period of intensive assessment to adjust his medication.
Mrs Sale, of Rushmere Road, Carlton Colville, said her husband was sent to the Coach House specialist dementia care home in Hemsby, where she was assured he would be safe and receive assessment.
However, he absconded from the Coach House before the assessment could take place.
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Mr Sale, a former manager at Coes of Lowestoft, went missing at 10pm on July 20 and is believed to have spent the night wandering through marshland before being found at about 8am the next morning.
His disappearance sparked a search by police and coastguards and caused huge distress to his wife, their two children, Lee and Wendy, and the Sales' twin granddaughters.
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Following the incident, Mr Sale was transferred to Carlton Court on Monday and it is hoped he will be able to return home within a few weeks.
Mrs Sale said she now felt her husband should have been admitted to Carlton Court in the first place as it had the specialist facilities and staff that he needed, offered a more secure environment and was closer to home so she could visit more frequently.
She said it was not clear why her husband had not initially been offered a bed at Carlton Court and she had been told that it was either because the funding was not approved for it or that no beds were available because a ward was closed.
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) is proposing to reduce the number of acute and older people's beds in the area and two wards at Carlton Court, including a number of dementia assessment beds, have been temporarily closed pending the outcome of a decision by health chiefs.
Mrs Sale, 67, said: 'The people at the top are making these decisions and not listening to the people working at grassroots level with dementia patients and their families.
'They don't consider that their actions are destroying people's lives.'
An NSFT spokesman said: 'Decisions about the need for admission or assessment are a matter of clinical judgement and depend on each patient's needs at a particular time. We always endeavour to work closely with carers and patients to try and best meet their needs.'
Rebecca Driver, director of engagement at HealthEast, the clinical commissioning group for Yarmouth and Waveney, said the responses to its public consultation on NSFT's proposals were being reviewed and a final decision would be made during a public meeting on September 25.