Families in the dark over cottage closure plans

Bryan Payne'''Picture by Louise Adams C131082-3 Chi Bryan Payne
Bryan Payne'''Picture by Louise Adams C131082-3 Chi Bryan Payne

A HUSBAND has spoken of his dismay at plans to move his wife and other vulnerable patients out of a facility which is ‘like a home from home’.

Bryan Payne, 68, only found out about proposals to close Regnum Cottages, in Chichester, after a friend showed him an Observer article from July.

“My friend showed me the article, then bang – it all changed,” said Mr Payne. “I had no idea.”

Mr Payne’s wife, Cherrill, was diagnosed with a schizophrenic disorder when she was young.

She became a patient at Regnum Cottages when her care became too much for Mr Payne.

“Sometimes you wouldn’t know she was ill, but sometimes it was like looking at a ghost,” he said.

Mr Payne said the realisation Regnum Cottages could close had left him ‘worried about the future’.

“It’s very unsettling. But it is a cost-cutting exercise. I have seen a deterioration in quality of care.

“The staff are amazing – it must be soul-destroying for them.

“They seem to be cutting the staff and then running it down.

“I can’t think of anywhere they can go. Are they going to spirit them away and put them in care homes?

“I just want her to be safe and well looked after.”

The proposed closure will affect 13 residents.

A report by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT), which runs the cottages, said they would be ‘better served’ locally by other community providers, enabling care commissioners to ‘find savings’.

“We are reviewing the use of our rehabilitation and recovery services to ensure they meet best practice and deliver active recovery and value for money,” it said.

However, Mr Payne said it is not just about the care, it is also about relationships and continuity.

His wife has a good friend at the cottages – another patient who she has known for years.

“It’s like a home from home for her,” he said.

“I’m sure it will work for some, but I don’t like it because I just don’t think they will get the care they need. I can’t say I’m surprised, it’s just the way it is now. But she needs specialist care – which she is getting now.”