Dr Andrew Emerson
11:37 AM on 17/08/2013
Any fool can close a hospital, or in this case two staffed cottages, and thereby make savings in a health and social care budget.
The more Spartan the care provided, the greater the savings, obviously. But there are (or should be) other considerations than mere cost-cutting.
Moving home is one of the most stressful processes anyone experiences in life. And the adverse effects of this stress are amplified for people who, by the nature of their clinical condition, are much less able to cope with stress than most others.
Graylingwell Hospital, where I once happily worked, has been converted into luxury apartments for the rich and now we see its satellites being picked off one by one.
The tired old mantra of “best practice” is an unconvincing platitude designed to close down debate.
I made a study of establishments like the Regnum Cottages, which was published by the Stationery Office, in 1998, under the title of Hospital Hostels. My findings were that such halfway houses were generally well liked by their residents and regarded as an improvement upon their earlier hospital experience.
I have also had the privilege of visiting the Regnum Cottages and seeing for myself just what a pleasant and good quality of care environment they provide.
There are some things upon which it is difficult to put a price. One of them must surely be the feeling of being ‘at home’ and among old friends.