Stowford Lodge

SIR - As a user of the services of Stowford Lodge, I speak to people about its closure and many say they do not know what to believe –‘is it closing or not?’ – because of the mixed messages coming out of the press.

The latest article printed in the April 8 edition of the Sidmouth Herald further adds to this confusion.

How unfortunate that the senior manager of the Devon Partnership Trust was unable to attend the meeting with the council! How misleading was the comment that ‘health authorities had that figure’…dementia sufferers in Sidmouth …’at just two, the number who attended Stowford Lodge last Friday’ So why were there only two, when there are so many dementia sufferers and their carers in Sidmouth crying out for respite care? Because the DPT stopped GPs referring patients to Stowford about 18 months ago, except for assessment, and as they are withdrawing respite services, why assess if there is no onward place to go?!

The argument is a health versus social issue, the DPT arguing that it is not to do with health. The carers would argue that it is very much a health issue – how long before the carer has a nervous breakdown - who will need even more medical care? It is a health issue also for the patient who will benefit from the right support, distraction and stimulation. What a short-sighted policy.

It is good that the council are showing concern about this matter, but why do we have to wait until June 6 for a meeting. Is it because we may have new councillors, or because the DPT hope that, by that time, Stowford will be closed and it will be too late!

If Stowford must be closed, could the DPT accept that it is their duty to provide respite care, as a health requirement, and find another venue in Sidmouth to again provide the wonderful service which once came from Stowford Lodge?

Mrs S M Burnand

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4, Yarde Hill Orchard, Sidmouth.