Derry woman concerned over ‘bed blocking’

Sarah Best pictured in her room recently at Spruce House, Altnagelvin Hospital. DER0219GS-056
Sarah Best pictured in her room recently at Spruce House, Altnagelvin Hospital. DER0219GS-056

A former Derry nurse has expressed concerns she is blocking beds at a care facility because she has been unable to secure a place in a long-term nursing care home.

Sarah Best, from Creggan, said she has been accommodated at Spruce House at Altnagelvin since November in a room designed to accommodate three patients at the specialist Brain Injury Unit.

A former auxiliary nurse who has previously worked at Altnagelvin herself, Ms. Best is wheelchair bound after losing much of the power on her left side as a result of a Stroke in 2013.

“I have been thinking it’s so unfair I’m blocking three beds,” the 56-years-old told the ‘Journal.’

“The room I am in is for three beds. I think it’s unfair on the tax payer.”

Ms. Best said that there had been problems because some existing long-term care facilities cannot accommodate her wheelchair. She said she has already spent two and a half years in a home in Omagh but it wasn’t satisfactory.

Ms. Best said that she had lived at a specially adapted house in Creggan but that it hadn’t been properly fitted to cater for her health and safety needs and was therefore unsuitable.

“I know I have to go where I have to go,” she said. “I’m not asking for five star service.

“There definitely needs to be more provision for people like me.”

A spokesperson for the Western Health and Social Care Trust responded: “Respecting patient/client confidentiality, the Western Trust does not comment on individual cases. If a patient or a relative has any issue in relation to their treatment or care, we would encourage them to raise these issues through the Trust’s Comments and Complaints system - the Patients’ Advocate Office. The Patients’ Advocate Office can be contacted on (028) 7161 1226.

“There continues to be waiting lists for nursing home places locally and across the region, irrespective of age or level of disability. The Trust works closely with nursing home providers in order to identify suitable placements to meet the individual needs of our patients.”