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"There should be an independent review of rehabilitation services"

Tuesday 18 January 2022

"There should be an independent review of rehabilitation services"

Tuesday 18 January 2022

There should be an independent review of rehabilitation services if the States Assembly doesn't support reopening Samarès Ward, a senior nurse has said.

The nurse, who spoke to Express anonymously, said that the UK Care Quality Commission should be invited in to look at the Government’s plans to develop and improve rehab services at the General Hospital, and also at how they will be delivered at the new hospital and in the community.

“If Health are confident they have got it right, they should be quite happy for external scrutiny,” the senior nurse said. “The commission would have a free hand to speak to patients, staff and management. Unfortunately, it is my firm belief they have got it badly wrong; and staff feel unable to say what they truly feel.”

The nurse was speaking ahead of a States debate this week into whether Samarès Ward – a specialist rehabilitation unit at Overdale – should reopen and if its facilities, including individual rooms, its own dining area and a self-contained flat, should be replicated in the new hospital or somewhere else.

A senior medical professional with experience working on Samarès Ward also contacted Express to share their concerns about the staffing situation within rehabilitation and the wider Health service.

The Government has been working hard to put its point of view across, which has included making a promotional video and writing a last-minute open letter to all States Members from its Medical Director and Chief Nurse

Overdale entrance.jpeg

Pictured: The senior nurse believes that Samarès Ward, which is in the Westmount Centre at Overdale, should be reopened.

Health Minister Richard Renouf has lodged an amendment to the proposal, pledging to publish a report on improvements by 1 March.

Meanwhile, several stroke survivors have shared both their stories and their belief that the closure of Samarès has been a retrograde step.

The ward closed in March 2020 and services moved to the General Hospital. This was initially for Covid reasons, but it was then decided to provide rehabilitation on the General’s Plémont Ward until the new hospital opens.

The Government admits that the current standard of care provided on Plémont is not where it should be, but it has pledged to make improvements.

However, the front-line nurse, whom Express met in person, said that the problem was more fundamental: that rehabilitation should not be done on an acute ward.

“With an acute hospital, you need a standalone, bespoke unit, like Samarès for the whole team, such as the dietician, speech and language therapist, the physiotherapist, occupational therapist and social workers. It is about the whole team focusing on a patient’s rehabilitation, whether that is for a stroke, head injury, hip replacement etc, when the patient no longer needs acute care.

“When the acute phase is over, they would go to Overdale to start next stage of their recovery, which is a bespoke, calmer and more focused care package. It is very difficult to ask staff, with acute patients coming in, to work with others who need longer-term care.”

The nurse added: “Plémont is not a bespoke rehab ward, and nor is the new hospital, as currently designed. If you’re spending £800m, at least you should get the rooms the right size. But if you look at the current internal plans, which may or may not be the final ones, I’m not sure if the doors are wide enough to get a hoist in and they don’t appear to have any anterooms for nurses to prepare.

“After a stroke, it is easy to get frightened or despondent and lose the will to live, especially if you have lost a loved one. By having time on a bespoke ward, you are a much better product going home with much more positive outcomes. 

“In Jersey, we are not the NHS; we prefer the personal touch. It is about showing compassion to our fellow islanders. All of us are potential patients; every single one of us. We all go to the same shops and walk down the same streets; we know each other, which isn’t like the UK.

“A person is not discharged until they have had home visits and are completely ready for the next stage. Also, their relatives have to be confident that can help someone out of a chair or up the stairs. They may have to make some adjustments with the fantastic OT staff and community therapists. That is all part of the package from Samarès Ward.

“When you see colleagues in tears who can’t stand it anymore because the atmosphere is toxic, it is very sad to see. The sooner management do three months looking after senior patients, the sooner they might get an idea.”


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