A woman living with MS has called on health authorities to stop closing a vital respite ward in Clifton Hospital through the winter.
Janet Leman, 57, of Lytham, is just one of many people who use respite care at the Windsor Unit in Clifton Hospital.
There are numerous people with chronic conditions, all of whom, like me, are very much in need of respite, as are their carers and families.Janet Leman
Mrs Leman has lived with Multiple Sclerosis for more than 30 years and relies heavily upon her husband Michael to help her through every day life.
The couple are worried that lots of families like them in Fylde are suffering in silence without the unit.
Mrs Leman said: “I have dragged myself through life with the great assistance of my husband and regular respite at the Windsor Unit in Clifton Hospital.
“There are numerous people with chronic conditions, all of whom, like me, are very much in need of respite, as are their carers and families.
“I send out a plea for this situation to be looked into, there is no other affordable respite in this area.”
On Monday, Mr Leman had his first social care assessment carried out by a Social and Care assessor to find out what help is necessary for himself.
Representatives from Lancashire County Council will return in six to eight weeks to carry out a further assessment on Mrs Leman.
Mr Leman thinks that many other carers in Fylde may also be in the same position as him.
He said: “It gives me something to look forward to as a full time carer, it allows me a little bit of time to get away, safe in the knowledge that your partner is in good hands and being cared for.
“The facility needs to come back as soon as possible, as there must be a lot of people like myself who rely on its operation.”
Liz Holt, director of adult community services and long term conditions at the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Windsor Unit is a five-bedded unit that provides respite care for the physically disabled.
“Due to the very high numbers of emergency admissions all NHS hospitals are facing at present we have had to temporarily close the unit to allow us to open extra medical areas.
“To ensure we have safe staffing levels to cope with the winter demand we transfer staff from other areas to care for these acutely ill patients.”
However, Mrs Leman now wants the Windsor Unit situation to be addressed.
She added: “The pain I experience is excruciating. People have been known to commit suicide over the diagnosis.
“My husband seriously needs some help from any direction.”