HOSPITAL: Shocked by ward closure

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I have just returned from signing a petition against the ward closure at Rothbury Community Hospital.

This planned closure was unknown to residents of Coquetdale and has evoked shocked responses.

The beds have already been removed.

Three years ago I had the misfortune to fracture my spine and spent the day undergoing assessment and treatment at the busy Wansbeck Hospital.

I remained on a trolley bed in A&E for 14 hours before eventually being transferred to Rothbury Community Hospital in the middle of the night.

I arrived at Rothbury where the atmosphere was calm and caring. My room was waiting for me with dim lighting, blankets turned down and a hot drink and sandwiches. It was bliss, and the care I received was five star.

My husband was unable to drive after hip replacement surgery and knowing that he could visit without having to travel a 50-mile round trip was very comforting.

My experience will have been mirrored many times by many patients and the loss of a local hospital facility for convalescence in a remote area as Coquetdale will be devastating for the community.

I do not believe that patients have declined the offer to recover in our hospital with 24-hour care as an alternative to going home with visiting health professionals.

Many patients live alone or have a carer who is also elderly and not in the best of health.

Few people are prepared for the responsibilities and tasks involved in caring for loved ones who are ill or disabled. Caring for someone causes tremendous stress, especially if there is not a family network to help.

I know of people who were unaware that the facility was available at the Rothbury Community Hospital for convalescence.

No one told them about it.

Anne Swailes,