‘We have got 45 days of uncertainty’: Families face agonising wait after shock healthcare trust closure announced

Ed and mum Sandra Bell.

Ed and mum Sandra Bell. - Credit: Archant

Concerned relatives have been left “numb” after a healthcare trust announced shock plans to close a service supporting hundreds of people each day.

Carole Forest with her family at All Hallows Hospital in Ditchingham. MARC BENDER

Carole Forest with her family at All Hallows Hospital in Ditchingham. MARC BENDER - Credit: Archant

All Hallows Healthcare Trust, which provides vital services to more than 250 people a day, revealed today (Wednesday, March 20) that financial difficulties have made it impossible to continue.

Sandra Bell’s 32-year-old son Ed has been a full-time resident at All Hallows Hospital in Ditchingham since 2004, but was not told about the “likely” closure ahead of the announcement.

She said: “Understandably I am absolutely gutted and shocked. My son has lived there for over 14 years and I found out through the news rather than getting a phone call.

“We thought things seemed to be going quite well there. The place has been busy and was buzzing with life, so this has come completely out of the blue.

“I am numb with shock and the reality is we have got 45 days of uncertainty until the trustees make a decision.

“Until then everything is up in the air.”

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Ed was just 16 when he suffered a brain injury in 2002 and now needs 24-hour care.

The hospital has proved a key part of life for the family, from Thurlton, who now fear for the alternatives should the closure go ahead.

Mrs Bell said: “We had a church blessing there when my husband and I got married, so it holds a lot of special memories for our family.

“There are a lot of people who live there who are now at risk of losing their homes and their care.

“It all seems very serious. We have really got to prepare for the worst because it is not looking good.

“I have been advised to start looking for alternative nursing homes but there are no nursing homes in our area for young people, just over 65s and he is 32. That is a big difference.

“As a family we need to have him where we can visit.”

Marc Bender, 42, from Sprowston, was also left shocked after the news.

His mother Carole Forest, 66, has been a resident at the Ditchingham care home for more than two years after suffering a stroke following a brain tumour four years ago.

He said: “My family and I found out at lunchtime about the possible closure which came as a massive shock to us and adds further stress wondering what is going to happen.

“My mum’s dad died a few days ago but because she is in such a delicate situation in a vegitative state, telling her would kill her.

“Even moving her would finish her off.

“We don’t want it to close. We could find her somewhere else but any journey will kill her, and that could be anywhere in the country.

“We were lucky she got a place in Ditchingham but because it has to be a specialised place it is not something that can be done at home.

“I, like many others, don’t want to see it close as all the carers and nurses know my mum and what she likes or dislikes even though she can’t talk or communicate at all.

“It has been four years of hell and it is too much. We don’t want to have to go somewhere else where we have to start again.”