Counselling service scrapped at hospital


Counselling for patients with life limiting illnesses at James Paget University Hospital will not be continuing due to lack of funding. - Credit: Archant

A counselling service for patients at James Paget University Hospital has been stopped due to a lack of funding.

Counselling therapy for patients with progressive long-term illnesses or diseases, as well as support for their carers, will not be continued at the Louise Hamilton Centre at the Gorleston hospital after January.

A spokesperson for JPUH said: "We recognise how much the counselling service is valued by patients with life limiting illnesses.

"However, it is not financed by the NHS and is dependent on charitable funds.

"We are currently exploring how we can identify new sources of charitable funding going forward, working in partnership with other organisations."

One patient who will be affected by the lack of funding is Ann Franklin.

Mrs Franklin has been living with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) for 15 years.

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As part of her therapy, Mrs Franklin has received counselling at the Louise Hamilton Centre at the hospital site for several years.

Mrs Franklin's husband was also receiving counselling for emotional support as he is her primary carer.

Mrs Franklin said: "I really don’t know what we are going to do without this service.

"I am so upset."

Originally hearing about the cessation of the counselling service, Mrs Franklin contacted the hospital's chief executive Anna Hills in August.

Anna Hills, chief executive of James Paget University Hospital. Picture: James Paget University Hosp

Anna Hills, chief executive of James Paget University Hospital - Credit: Archant

Mrs Franklin said: "I was most dismayed and upset.

"MND is a progressive disease with no cure.

"It is like a death sentence hanging over my head every day.

"As a psychologist with a post graduate diploma in counselling and having worked in that field for most of my career, I know how important a counsellor is to people with an ultimately fatal progressive disease.

"l found that my counsellor is very effective with the right skills and understanding to help support people through their journey with life limiting illnesses.

"The counselling is a valuable asset to the services you provide.

"This helps us offload onto someone neutral.

"It enables us to just about manage the devastating experience we are going through, which we know is only going to get worse."

Currently, the Louise Hamilton Centre is primarily being used as a Covid vaccination clinic.

The Sandra Chapman Centre is still providing support for cancer patients.