Norfolk mental health patient, 73, catches Covid after being moved to Darlington
- Credit: Archant
The county’s mental health service is facing criticism after a woman in her 70s in its care caught coronavirus when she was transferred 240 miles away to Darlington.
Kay Cantell said her mother Kathleen, 73, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was on leave from Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth when her bed was given to someone else.
When an arrangement at Elsenham House in Cromer did not work out, her mother was transferred to a private hospital near Darlington.
Ms Cantell said: “I got the call on September 23 saying she was being moved. We didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. I then got a call saying she’d caught coronavirus on October 29. It was disgraceful.”
A Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) spokesperson said it wanted to apologise to Kathleen Cantell that she did not receive care “as close to home as possible”, and that it “carefully considers every decision to place a patient out of area”.
The news comes after the NSFT’s chief medical officer Dr Dan Dalton pledged to never again allow “frail and older” patients to be sent out of the county following the death of Peggy Copeman at the side of the M11 last year - unless “one of the executive team and a consultant psychiatrist decides it is the only thing that can be done for them”.
You may also want to watch:
In response to Mrs Cantell’s situation, Mrs Copeman’s son-in-law Nick Fulcher said Dr Dalton “should resign”.
He said: “Here we go again. I was told just last week were no more elderly patients being taken out of the area for treatment, but clearly that was plain false.
- 1 Builder took pink pill and ran naked around hotel
- 2 Fire tears through historic Thorpe pub
- 3 Four national high street names to move into former M&S store
- 4 Mass coronavirus vaccination centre opens in Norwich today
- 5 Store open despite positive Covid test at town centre Sainsbury's
- 6 Stunning images capture Cromer in the snow
- 7 Vandals leave £80,000 trail of destruction in car park
- 8 PM warns there will be no 'open sesame' lockdown exit
- 9 Norfolk to get rapid Covid test sites - to find people without symptoms
- 10 Delays as 23m-long caravan travels through Norfolk
“Mrs Cantell might have been sent up north before the tier system came into place, but anyone could see that there was a risk.”
In April 2020, the NSFT revealed there were three people in out-of-area beds, down from 70 in October 2019. But by late summer, due to increased demand, the number had risen to 28.
It added that 16 new beds had recently opened at Hellsdon Hospital and 21 more were on the way via an independent provider.
Ms Cantell said: “Mr Dalton has promised me his priority is getting my mum back to Norfolk once she’s tested negative - but there’s every chance she would never have caught coronavirus if she’d been where she was supposed to be.
“Her symptoms have been mild, but others might not have been so lucky.”