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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Millom patients’ families face 40-mile trips

FRAIL and vulnerable relatives of patients suffering with dementia are being forced to travel up to 40 miles to visit their loved ones.

A meeting of South Copeland Neighbourhood Forum heard how patients from Millom with the condition were being placed in care homes as far away as Workington – leaving their families struggling to visit.

The issue was raised by deputy mayor and Millom representative on the Furness Health and Wellbeing Forum, Felicity Wilson during a question and answer session with Barrow GP Dr Geoff Jolliffe, from NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group.

Mrs Wilson said: “I have seen people travel from the town up to Workington and it’s taken a lot of courage for some of them because they are elderly themselves.

“Some of them go to visit relatives who may not recognise them and then they have to come back very distressed.”

Dr Jolliffe said he had “no great answers” to the problem and told the forum dementia is a complex challenge for health services.

He said: “Dementia is going to become our biggest problem in health and social care. We have got a very similar problem in Barrow. Patients with high level dementia care needs are being shipped off to Kendal.”

Dr Jolliffe said he hoped greater focus on caring for patients in their own homes could be one way to address the problem of care home provision.

He said: “The Closer to Home strategy has been getting a bad press recently but from a healthcare point of view we need to look at what we can do to support people in their own homes. We know that when people who suffer from dementia go elsewhere they get worse.”

The question of out of hours care was also put to Dr Jolliffe, who said under the present system Millom “didn’t have a hope in hell” of getting its own out of hours GP service.

“I have a limited pot of money and Millom has been getting more than its fair share, so there is no money to support an out of hours service,” he said.

Have your say

“I have a limited pot of money and Millom has been getting more than its fair share== Well he would say that wouldn't he, the next time we get our fair share will be the first.

Posted by William Wooleyback on 9 October 2013 at 10:03

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