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'Please sort out care for me, I want to go home'

By Carmarthen Journal  |  Posted: April 03, 2013

By Graeme Wilkinson

Comments (2)

A TEENAGE girl who has spent the last seven weeks on an adult ward in hospital in Carmarthen says she is trapped there.

Sophie Washington told the Journal she feels like she is bed blocking at Glangwili — because there is no package of care in place for her to leave.

The 17-year-old, from Llandeilo, has severe diabetes with serious medical complications that means she needs constant monitoring.

She urgently needs a new pancreas and is the youngest person in the UK on that organ donation waiting list.

But, since February, she has spent every night on the ward at hospital in Carmarthen, which she says includes patients with dementia and others in a distressed state.

Sophie, a pupil at Ysgol Tregib, said: "It makes financial sense for me to be at home and it makes common sense.

"I find things to do here but I'd rather be at home."

Her parents Tim and Lisa Washington say she should be allowed to lead as normal a life as possible until she can have the life-saving transplant operation.

Sophie, who uses a wheelchair, can leave the hospital during the day under supervision. But her parents are frustrated at what they claim are delays by Hywel Dda Health Board.

Mr Washington said: "The most important thing for us is Sophie's emotional well-being, as well as her physical well-being. She's stuck on a ward which is not suitable for a young person.

"The staff are absolutely wonderful and very caring. They are doing everything they can to minimise the impact for her of being a long-term patient."

Sophie was first diagnosed with diabetes when she was nine. At that time, the family lived in Hertfordshire. Sophie's condition became worse and she has spent the last eight years in and out of hospital and receiving nursing care at home.

When her father changed jobs to work in Wales, the family tried to move to Llandeilo. Her parents said Hywel Dda Health Board was told of the care package she would need to live at home, but it has not been set up.

In February, on a visit to Glangwili Hospital to see a consultant, Sophie was admitted to the emergency department and has not yet been discharged.

Mrs Washington said they have had several meetings but were told it could take months to sort out care.

She said Hywel Dda could apply for funding from Hertfordshire where Sophie was previously treated, but had not done so.

Mrs Washington added: "Her life has been very difficult. She's the sort of person who takes every opportunity and lives every moment.

"She laughs every day and loves beyond words.

"She doesn't want to be held back and she shouldn't have to be in hospital."

Sophie has undertaken plenty of charity work, raising £30,000 for good causes, and is an ambassador for Rays of Sunshine, a charity which helps children with chronic or terminal illnesses.

A spokesperson for Hywel Dda Health Board said: "We cannot comment on individual patient care through the media.

"In cases where complex care is needed, we liaise closely with patients and their families to ensure we provide care, including discharge packages, that fully address the patient's needs and which are safe and sustainable."

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2 comments

  • ogmoron  |  April 03 2013, 11:23PM

    Sadly, there are too many people like Sophie who are stuck in Welsh hospitals, due to blinkered Health Board managers. Sophie could be home tomorrow if Hywel Dda accepted that sometimes they cannot provide sufficient staff for such a complex home-care package. It is a dirty word in NHS Wales, but there are good private providers who could support Sophie's rapid move home, thus freeing up an expensive bed and allowing a teenager to live her life outside of hospital. This would happen in England, but it is an inherrrent failing of the Welsh Assembly's policy of not engaging with the private and third sectors for this type of care. I hope Sophie finds a solution soon. A very brave young lady. Good luck!

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  • ogmoron  |  April 03 2013, 11:22PM

    Sadly, there are too many people like Sophie who are stuck in Welsh hospitals, due to blinkered Health Board managers. Sophie could be home tomorrow if Hywel Dda accepted that sometimes they cannot provide sufficient staff for such a complex home-care package. It is a dirty word in NHS Wales, but there are good private providers who could support Sophie's rapid move home, thus freeing up an expensive bed and allowing a teenager to live her life outside of hospital. This would happen in England, but it is an inherrrent failing of the Welsh Assembly's policy of not engaging with the private and third sectors for this type of care. I hope Sophie finds a solution soon. A very brave young lady. Good luck!

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