How we came into being and where we are going
Late in 2011 the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust issued a media release saying that it was considering closing the Regional Spinal Injuries Centre at Pinderfields Hospital. Furthermore it was considering moving the care of Spinal Cord Injured to Dewsbury Hospital, but as a significantly scaled down service, that would no longer take acute injuries and only focus on rehabilitation.
A small group of ex-patients and ex-staff came together to form a campaign group called ‘Keep Spinal Injuries at Pinderfields’ (KSIAP), Chaired by an ex-patient; Kevan Baker OBE. This group ran an assertive campaign with local press, contacting MP’s , rallying many ex-patients and resulting is presenting to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Spinal Cord Injury at Westminster.
Following the success of the campaign the MYHT amended its decision and agreed to continue with the Spinal Centre at Pinderfields. But in discussions with KSIAP it was indicated that a viable, professional Patient Support Group was needed at the Spinal Centre. This would help to ensure that the Spinal Centre would generally reverse its decline, develop, and once again work to become one of the best overall spinal centres in the country.
Kevan Baker wrote a strategy after speaking to the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) and the Manager of the only other Patient Support Group in the country (SPIN at Stoke Mandeville) and a general meeting was convened at the Spinal Centre in the Summer of 2012 with 50 ex-patients attending. The strategy was accepted and SPINE was born.
A Committee was elected and a Constitution developed and work began to establish work projects to address the key issues.
Today, in 2014, many partnerships have been developed, sponsors have been brought on board and the Spinal Centre continues to develop and flourish as a result of SPINE work; notably:
- The Spinal Centre has a Business Plan
- Relationships with MYHT are significantly better and growing
- SPINE has built strong working relationships with Stepping Stones (the supporting Charitable Trust).
- SPINE’s Chief Executive is a member of the Centre Management Team
- SPINE has a voice at the national NHS Clinical Reference Group (helping drive the future of Spinal Care)
- SPINE has representation on the MYHT Stakeholder Group (a shadow Board)
- SPINE is working towards becoming a Registered Charity
Parts of the Spinal Centre have been completely decorated; one paying respect to the rich history of Paralympic Sportsmen and Women who have received care at the Centre since 1960. Others are currently being planned to depict inspirational messages to new Patients, such as Love & Romance, Art, Poetry and Culture.
As we approach the 65th Anniversary of Spinal Cord Injury Care in 2017 at Pinderfields, the Centre is moving swiftly towards being on a sound footing for the future.
That sounds a bit harsh, as many of you like me will have
many memories of Ward One. But like it or not, it is gone and there is nothing that can be done about it.
What we have is the new Spinal Injuries Centre at the new Pinderfields hospital. It’s very different from the old ward and has taken a long time to come to terms with the change. But we are getting there.
The Spinal Injuries unit currently has 32 beds, but we are looking into expanding to 34 with the opening of the high dependency area where we will once again be able to cater for patients that require support with breathing, something we have not been able to
do for quite a few years. The 32 beds are divided into 4 bedded and single rooms. Each room has its own toilet and shower room, so no more queuing for the loos at the ends of the ward like the old days!
There’s plenty of space around the beds, and the windows are large and the 4 bedder rooms have plenty of light. Some people have said that the new ward lacks the homey feel of the old Ward One. This can be true, but I say that the new unit is very much in its infancy and a sense of home takes time and hopefully; with the changes that are coming in the coming year courtesy of SPINE, the place will begin to feel something similar to what Ward One was.
The Physio and Occupational Therapy departments are greatly advanced over the archaic facilities of the old Ward. The gym is no longer 2 rooms, but THREE! Encompassing a conditioning suite (aka weight machine room), balance and Locomat room and the incredible sports hall that is being put to good use with the sports days that have took place and will continue to take place over the coming years. Also, keep in touch with the SPINE website and SURF info blog for coming news of the Pinderfields teams!
Occupational Therapy now boasts a separate computer room and a much larger hand therapy room to compliment the washing and dressing practice that takes place on the ward.
So, the new Spinal Injuries unit is very different from the old one. But there are some things that do not change, and that is us. The staff. Nurses, Doctors, OT’s and Physio’s. We strive everyday, against ever increasing “challenges” to do our very best for every patient. Sometimes is might seem that we aren’t, but believe me we are.
For me personally, the new unit has a long way to go to match the greatness of the old Ward One that most of us remember, but we are working to get there. And it’s my belief that us all; staff and patients working under the banner of SPINE can make the road
to that greatness shorter. Remember, one Pinderfields, ALWAYS Pinderfields!