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Patient power! Rehab finally reopens at Samarès Ward

Patient power! Rehab finally reopens at Samarès Ward

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Patient power! Rehab finally reopens at Samarès Ward

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Stroke rehabilitation care returned to Samarès Ward at Overdale today after patient power forced the last Government to change direction earlier this year.

The 14-bed facility was opened by Health Minister Karen Wilson (pictured top), who said she supported the decision – made by her predecessor Richard Renouf in March – to bring rehabilitation back to Overdale after it had moved to the General Hospital in May 2000.

The last Government said the relocation from Plémont Ward to Samarès Ward would be temporary while the former is refurbished.

However, Deputy Wilson said she first wanted to review the Plémont Ward project before committing to it. This will feed into a wider review that she and Infrastructure Minister Tom Binet are carrying out into the Our Hospital project.

Deputy Binet will report back to the States Assembly with his findings by 20 October, as part of Chief Minister Kristina Moore’s ‘100 day plan’.

Samares Overdale rehab  rehabilitation.jpeg

Pictured: Patients will have their own room at Samarès Ward. A lack of personal space was a principal complaint about Plémont Ward.

Deputy Wilson had high praise for the new ward within the Westmount Centre at Overdale.

“We now have a much better facility in the way it is kitted out and designed around the rehabilitation model of care,” she said. “Its décor, space and equipment is far superior to what was available on Plémont Ward.”

Asked if she had supported the move back to Samarès when the previous Government was forced to make a last-minute u-turn in January, the minister replied: “I was an interested member of the public at the time and what I saw and heard were people who were very unhappy at the service they and their families were receiving.

“Of course, it was all tied up with the design of the new hospital.

“We know from what people have said is that clearly Plémont Ward was not meeting their needs. I picked up the decision to return to Samarès Ward and I agree with it.

“It is important that people have a good experience of the care they receive. It is so equally important to listen to their concerns and respond to them.”

Deputy Wilson said she could not yet say if the move back to Samarès would be temporary, as the last Government envisaged.

Rehab Rehabilitation Samares Ward Overdale.JPG

Pictured: There is a spacious washroom on Samarès Ward.

The plan of Deputy Renouf was for Samarès to be open until the end of the year, while Plémont Ward was undergoing a £2m refurbishment. 

The move back to the General Hospital would allow for the demolition of Overdale to start but there is now a question mark over whether the Westmount Centre and other more modern buildings there will be knocked down.

Indeed, there is a question mark over the whole hospital project while the 100-day review takes place.

Deputy Wilson said: “Deputy Binet and myself are charged with undertaking a review and everything is on the table. Rehabilitation services will form part of that broad review but the arrangements put in place at Samarès Ward will remain for now.

“We have three things to address: the first is the reopening of Samarès Ward, and from today we have services in place that meet the needs of islanders.

“The second is a review of the enabling works going on at the General Hospital and elsewhere, which includes the refurbishment of Plémont Ward. We need to take stock but, equally, we don’t want to stop any work that will improve the quality of the environment. 

“And thirdly, we have the review of the Our Hospital project itself. The process is not linear and there is a lot to consider, but we are certain that after 100 days, we will have clear way forward.”

The Minister that the three-week delay to the reopening of Samarès Ward had been due to not having the right staff in place quite in time.

“It will come as no surprise to hear that we have a consistent challenge to recruit. We had a core team who were originally at Samarès Ward and some of those have come back.

“We have also sourced some agency support to backfill the vacancies and there was also a slight delay to junior doctors starting their placements in the island. They typically come in February and August, so it took a little time for the August intake to be inducted.

Samares Ward Overdale Rehab rehabilitation.JPG

Pictured: It is not yet known how long rehabilitation services will be back at Overdale, with the new Government carrying out a review of health provision.

“But they will all be in place when the ward opens today.”

The last Government was forced to act on Samarès Ward after a significant groundswell of public opinion forced ministers to U-turn on the eve of a debate brought by former Senator Steve Pallett.

Samarès Ward had initially been emptied in 2020 to provide an emergency ward for suspected Covid patients.

However, the move to Plémont Ward became ‘permanent’ when Health factored in the Our Hospital plans, which include a full demolition of Overdale.

However, the set-up at Plémont Ward was inferior to the purpose-built facility that rehabilitation services had vacated, leading to staff and patients to call for a return to Westmount Road.


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Future rehab plans unclear ahead of hospital design submission

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OPEN LETTER: "Moving rehab services back to Overdale would be a mistake"

READER LETTER: "The day I was transferred to Samares Ward was the day of my rebirth"


Express previously sat down with former Senator Steve Pallett as he made a push to get Samares Ward reopened. Listen back to it below or on your favourite pod provider...

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