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Politicians to vote on reopening Samarès Ward for rehabilitation

Politicians to vote on reopening Samarès Ward for rehabilitation

Thursday 09 December 2021

Politicians to vote on reopening Samarès Ward for rehabilitation

Thursday 09 December 2021


States Members are to be asked to reopen Samarès Ward at Overdale to provide a dedicated rehabilitation centre for islanders recovering from stroke and head injuries.

Senator Steve Pallett, a former Assistant Health Minister, is about to lodge a formal proposal calling on the Government to reverse its decision to close the ward.

Up until May 2020, Samarès Ward provided 23 beds to patients with neurological or orthopaedic injuries and other conditions that required rehabilitation.

When the Nightingale Wing opened, it was decided to use Samarès to assist the recovery of covid patients.

Earlier this year, it was announced the ward would not be reopened and that rehabilitation services would move to Plémont Ward at the General Hospital - a move which more than 1,400 islanders challenged in a petition.

After hearing what he says are many, many stories from islanders who believe the rehabilitation they are receiving is inadequate, Senator Pallett wants the Assembly to take the lead and direct the Health Minister to reopen the ward.

Overdale entrance.jpeg

Pictured: Samarès Ward, which is in the newer block at Overdale, stopped being a dedicated rehabilitation unit in May 2020.

“I’m afraid the Government’s current position doesn’t add up, and Plémont Ward just isn’t working,” he said. “We’ve gone from a gold service to a sub-standard service. The wider public might not realise what has gone on but those affected do and they are contacting myself and others, such as Constable [Andy] Jéhan, with their concerns.

“I voted for the Jersey Care Model when I was an Assistant Minister but, in hindsight, I wish I would have looked more closely at the provisions for islanders recovering from strokes and head injuries.

“Talking to people and their families, the support they need is very difficult to provide in a home or community setting, and neither can it be provided on a general ward. 

“I think this is going to be a tough one for States Members. Some may feel that the Jersey Care Model should be fully  but I feel many will be shocked when they hear the horrifying stories that we have heard. 

“Rehabilitation services are certainly not where they should be” 

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Pictured: Senator Steve Pallett is asking the States Assembly to instruct Health to reopen Samarès Ward as a rehabilitation centre.

Senator Pallett said his proposition, which is currently going through the lodging process, would be threefold: calling for Samàres Ward is reinstated as a matter of urgency; making sure a temporary standalone rehabilitation unit is created when Overdale is demolished, and ensuring the new hospital, which will open in 2026, includes a standalone unit.

However, his proposal also calls for a provision that the unit could be located away from the new campus if that was deemed a better option.

Constable Jéhan said that he had received an “incredible response” after he invited islanders to contact him with their concerns, following a recent Express article in which he shared his concerns that patients and staff were being "let down" by the Health service.

“I’ve had people in tears on the phone to me sharing their stories,” he said. “No one is critical of the frontline staff but it is clear that the current system is not working.

“People have told me that their physio is rehabilitation has been non-existent. 

“Others have said that some of the beds on Plémont Ward are not being used by rehabilitation patients because there are more patients in the Hospital than beds."

Pictured: Constable Andy Jéhan wants islanders to share their accounts of rehabilitation care with him.

He continued: “I’ve been contacted by someone closely involved to say that there are hourly phone calls around the Hospital from staff looking for beds.

“And people have been told not to activate their private medical insurance because there is not enough staff to cover Plémont Ward, let alone another floor of paying patients.

“People are going days without any physio, which was never the case when we had a dedicated rehabilitation facility. 

“Health claim that it is saving £1.8m but I believe it’s nearer £100,000. Something has to change, and I wholeheartedly support Senator Pallett’s proposition.”

The Health Minister, however, maintains that rehabilitation services have not been adversely affected by the move to Plémont Ward.

This week, Deputy Richard Renouf responded to the petition, which has 1,433 signatures.

He said: “Health and Community Services continues to provide a flexible and comprehensive stroke rehabilitation approach – one that is responsive to individual clinical need and good practice guidance.

“Rehabilitation services have not been reduced but are being delivered in different settings and in a number of different ways in line with National Clinical Guidelines for rehabilitation. 

“In relation to stroke rehabilitation, we continue to maintain sufficient inpatient services. It should be recognised that not all stroke patients require inpatient rehabilitation. 

“The emphasis in most modern well-resourced healthcare systems is to provide inpatient care during the acute phase of rehabilitation which follows as soon as possible after a stroke has occurred.

“After the acute phase, ongoing rehabilitation and continuing support is usually delivered in the patient’s home or a community setting. This model of treatment delivers better outcomes and patient experience.”

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Pictured: Health Minister Richard Renouf: "Health is committed to improving Plémont Ward’s environment".

He added: “Samarès Ward was close to many people’s hearts in the care and treatment that was provided. 

“However, HCS would like to reassure islanders that the same professional team transitioned with the move to Plémont Ward. 

“There are 14 beds dedicated to rehabilitation with four of those being in cubicles. These beds are flexed according to the number of neurological and stroke patients that are on the unit at any one time. 

“However, rehabilitation is not just confined to Plémont Ward; if a patient on another ward requires rehabilitation, it can be provided within that setting. 

“HCS recognises that this has made some people anxious about the changes that are currently occurring. It acknowledges that Samarès Ward was a spacious, calm, healing environment where patients each had their own room. 

“However, HCS is committed to improving Plémont Ward’s environment to ensure a better experience for patients.”

He added that Health would be commissioning a report from an “expert in rehabilitation services” to “review existing provision and advise upon the future direction and resource requirements of services locally.”

Between 100 and 140 islanders suffer a stroke each year.

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Posted by Jenn Smith on
How can reducing the number of beds and placing patients in multibed wards be seen as comparable? The admission " It acknowledges that Samarès Ward was a spacious, calm, healing environment where patients each had their own room" speaks for itself.
This is just another example of the healthcare cuts and introduction of " user pays" Please don't try and dress it up as anything else.
Posted by Keith Marsh on
Anyone who voted for the Jersey Care Model obviously did not think it through fully.
A smaller hospital, giving a poorer overall service to the public.
Care in the community never works and is always the first "health department" to find the blade of cuts.
THINK AGAIN please ... before it is too late.
Posted by Patricia Le Ruez on
Well Done Steve Pallett, one of the more sensible and caring members of the States, pity not more like him.
Plemont Ward is Not a suitable environment for anyone requiring rehabilitation. Just where has common sense gone ?
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