Day care scandal

SIR - Three cheers for the Mental Health Initiative scheme!

Would this, by any chance, be coming to Sidmouth and will it be housed at Stowford Lodge, I wonder? Devon Partnership NHS Trust has been selected for Supporting Recovery project. This is a great idea. However, what about the support (?) for the confused elderly who attend the Day Centre at Stowford Lodge?

This unit was built in 1986 for the assessment of patients with organic mental health problems. It appears to me that patients with mental health problems will be treated so that they will be able to return to work. How does this apply to the patients with organic mental health problems that are already over the working age?

Comments have been made that GPs are referring patients, but there have been no new patients at Stowford Lodge Day Centre for many months.

With approximately 30,000 pensioners in East Devon alone, there is, or will be, a demand for day care places. As I understand it, there are only two day centres in Sidmouth. One of these is at Stowford Lodge and the other is a private fee-charging concern.

Apart from care of the confused elderly, we must not forget about respite care for the carers themselves. This is desperately needed. Caring for someone with a mental problem for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, takes its own toll. People who have not experienced this cannot possibly know how difficult it is without taking a proper and meaningful break.

It would be nothing short of a scandal if the Stowford Lodge Day Centre is closed. Why close it when it is needed? It is surely unjustifiable for the confused elderly and their carers to be pushed aside and forgotten in the name of ‘progress’.

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Y Puzey

18 Woolbrook Rise, Sidmouth