Family's relief as mental health patient back from Darlington 'at last'

Kathleen Cantell, 73, was transferred to a hospital in Darlington

Kathleen Cantell, 73, was transferred to a hospital in Darlington after a stint at a Cromer care home did not work out - Credit: Submitted

The daughter of a mentally-ill patient sent 240 miles away for care is "relieved but dumbfounded" that her mother is finally back in Great Yarmouth.

Kay Cantell has been fighting for the return of 73-year-old Kathleen from Darlington, where she was transferred by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) after her bed at Northgate Hospital was given to someone else.

While there, she caught Covid-19, but luckily suffered mild symptoms.

Kathleen, who has bipolar disorder, was initially supposed to be home last Friday, but when that did not happen, the Trust insisted she would be home on Monday instead.

That promise also fell flat after the Trust said it was too 'busy' to follow plans through, and it was not until Wednesday evening that her mother was brought back to Yarmouth.

kay cantell

Kay Cantell says she is horrified by the way NSFT has treated her mother - Credit: Kay Cantell

Ms Cantell said: "I got a call on Tuesday evening from Northgate telling me that mum would be coming home the next day. My first thought was: is this really going to happen this time? 

"The person I spoke to assured me it was, and I just let out this massive breath I'd been holding. I was relieved, but completely dumbfounded.

"After we'd been let down so many times before, it just didn't seem real.

"Five minutes later, I got a call from mum with the same news. You could tell she was in such a good place from her voice."

Ms Cantell added: "I didn't want to tell anyone she was coming home until she called me from Northgate itself. I couldn't bear the thought of having to let everyone down once again.

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"My brother is undergoing radiotherapy for cancer at the moment, and all he could say was "phew, thank god she's back".

"We can't visit her yet because of lockdown, but she's a mile from my house now, at last. I can drop off anything she needs. She's 74 on Saturday, so back just in time for her birthday."

Ms Cantell, who has called for NSFT's chief medical officer Dan Dalton to resign, said: "I can't even begin to express my frustration with them.

"The last couple of months have worn me out. I just felt like everything was out of my control."

Dan Dalton

Dan Dalton, NSFT's Chief Medical Officer - Credit: Angela Sharpe Photography