Hastings and Rother children losing out on vital therapy service

Isabelle Everest
Isabelle Everest

Scores of children across 1066 Country are losing out on hydrotherapy because of a breakdown in communication between two health trusts.

The Conquest Hospital in St Leonards provides pools for the service, which is run by Kent Community Heath NHS Trust.

But Paula Everest, whose nine-year-old daughter has cerebral palsy, said the hospital trust’s failure to give a guarantee that its pool was safe to use has led to disabled children not being able to go to the Conquest.

She said: “My daughter Isabelle recently had orthopaedic surgery and I rang the manager of the physiotherapy team to discuss why hydrotherapy was no longer being delivered as a service. I was told the reason was due to East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust not giving the Kent trust reassurance that the hydro pool at the Conquest is safe.

“As we have fought to get hydrotherapy in our daughter’s educational statement, they are obliged by law to provide it.

“They have agreed to buy in the services of another pool for her to have a course of hydrotherapy in. Isabelle raised a lot of money a few years ago to purchase toys and flotation suites for the pool at the Conquest and now she, along with all the other children with disabilities, is being denied use of a valuable service.”

A spokesman for ESHT, which runs the Conquest, said: “We can confirm all the necessary paperwork and assurance to prove our hydrotherapy pool is safe and fit for purpose have been sent to Kent Community Health. We are very sorry for the miscommunication that has occurred between us and the trust on the governance processes around our hydrotherapy pool.

“As soon as we realised this error we worked with Kent Community Health to rectify this. We now have identified designated time slots in the hydrotherapy pool schedule for Kent Community Health to hire the pool to deliver care to their clients.”

Sue Mathers, locality clinical manager for East Sussex Children’s Integrated Therapy Service, said: “We are hoping to provide hydrotherapy to our patients from the Conquest in September. We are proud of our health and safety standards and are grateful to ESHT for providing the assurance we need to provide our service from its pool.”

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