Calls for rehab unit to remain in the borough

The brother of a Wigan man cared for by a closure-threatened rehabilitation unit has called for the service to stay in the borough.

Saturday, 31st December 2016, 4:00 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:01 pm
John Melling, 74, right, (also known as Jack) with brother George, 72, going for a walk to the local shops - John was helped by the Taylor Unit a neuro-rehab unit at Leigh Hospital, with their support he now has mobility and can live independently. They are upset about the proposed closure of the unit

George Melling, from Pemberton, spoke about the quality of care his brother John received at the Taylor Unit in Leigh after it emerged the facility will shut in March.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Foundation Trust has given notice it will no longer run the neurological rehab unit at Leigh Infirmary due to the first-floor location being unsatisfactory.

Health bosses have praised the quality of care there and said efforts are under way to find a new location, but staff and families of previous patients have expressed alarm at developments.

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George has now added his voice to the chorus calling for the unit to be saved after becoming aware of its work following John’s stay there.

He went for rehab after an operation at Salford Royal following a collapse at home caused by a spinal problem left him partially paralysed.

George, 72, said: “Straight away the staff at the Taylor Unit got him dressed and up. They don’t let them just stay in bed.

“The staff were so supportive and the physiotherapists were there at the unit, so people didn’t have to make appointments. They were there going through exercises with them every day.

“They had a kitchen so John was in there with them making a brew and some toast. They were getting him ready for going back home.

“They gave him his confidence back as well. I just can’t praise the staff enough.

“Services like this have got to be local. I was there every couple of days bringing his clothes and laundry and I would have struggled if it was on the other side of Manchester or miles away.

“It’s a nice location too because it’s near Lilford Park. We would borrow a wheelchair and go there to have a picnic and watch the birds and squirrels.

“Ideally it would be able to stay where it is, but obviously we don’t live in an ideal world and there are tangible reasons they can’t do that.

“I’ve heard Wrightington mentioned and that would be good for us this side of Wigan, but certainly it is important that it doesn’t move out of the borough. We’re losing enough things as it is.”

George said John expected to spend the rest of his life in a nursing home before going to the Taylor Unit but is now able to live at home with carers going in to assist him several times a day.