Lack of funds forces people to suffer

The family of a Porthleven great-grandfather has hit out at the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust after he was transported 300 miles from home for treatment.

Derek Jewson suffers from dementia, chronic heart disease and water retention on the lungs and had been admitted to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro on the day before the bank holiday weekend.

However to the shock of his family the 89-year-old was then driven to a mental health hospital in Northampton the next day where his health took a turn for the worse and he was later found unresponsive.

It seems quite extraordinary that a man of that age, and condition, should be put through the stress of a such a journey due to limited resources.

I have experience of close relatives suffering from dementia and watched my once proud grandfather deteriorate in his final year, confused and unable to recognise his own wife and daughter.

And now sadly his widow, my grandmother, has taken a similar path yet thankfully has the support of my parents who have returned from their permanent home in Spain to provide extra care.

Both in their 70s, my parents are doing their utmost to help yet I can see it is affecting their own health and NHS support is limited.

It can be frustrating to deal with health trusts who shoulder responsibility for the elderly as in our experience they will do anything they can to keep them in the family home as a cost saving measure.

In my opinion this procedure causes vulnerable people to suffer unnecessarily and affects families who are ill-prepared to help. Decisions appear financial based rather the needs of individuals and those around them.

The plight of Mr Jewson shines a light on the lack of resources in Cornwall and how poorly our older generation are often treated. Combined with an underfunded mental health treatment system in the county it demonstrates there is limited hope of adequate care.

Mr Jewson served in the RAF and was a lighthouse keeper, a policeman, a fisherman, Porthleven Harbourmaster and a carer for his late wife. He paid his dues to the system and his community and deserves so much better.

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