Wife faces two-hour trek to visit husband

A Wisbech pensioner faces a two-hour trek to Peterborough to visit her husband if plans to move him to a Bretton care home go ahead.

Pauline Frusher, 72, of Westfield Road, currently travels for over an hour in each direction to visit husband Neville at Peterborough City Hospital, where he is being cared for until a suitable place can be found for him.

Mr Frusher, 75, suffers from dementia and so needs specialist care, which appears to be in limited supply in Fenland.

Now MP Stephen Barclay is calling for clarification on the number of dementia care beds available in the area and whether there is an urgent need for more to be provided.

Mrs Frusher said her husband has been at the Peterborough Hospital since January and she makes the bus journey to visit him five days a week.

Although she has a free bus pass, Mrs Frusher has trouble walking and occasionally uses a taxi to get from her home to catch a bus from Lynn Road.

Visiting Mr Frusher takes most of the day and is tiring for her. But she fears if, as is proposed, Mr Frusher is moved to a care home in Bretton her journey will be even longer.

“I tried it to see how I would manage and it took me over two hours to get there. I needed to catch two buses and I had a long walk the other end.

“I really want him out of the hospital, he doesn’t need to be there, but there is nowhere suitable for him to go.

“Moving him to Bretton is just going to make life so difficult. I would love to have him in a home in Wisbech, but there are no beds available and when they do come up they are taken very quickly,” explained Mrs Frusher.

Mr Barclay, MP for North East Cambs, who has made a central point of contact for dementia carers one of the ten points on his recently launched Treat Me Local health campaign, is deeply concerned at Mrs Frusher’s plight and is calling for answers over the provision of dementia care beds in Fenland, seeking clarification on whether there are sufficient beds available to meet demand.

There are currently between 300 and 400 beds spread across Wisbech, March and Whittlesey, whilst there appear to be none in Chatteris, but on August 22 there were only two available and they were subject to a waiting list.

“We need to know how many beds there are, and whether they are enough to meet demand in this area.

“It is unacceptable that someone has to endure a two-hour journey in each direction to visit their husband.

“If there are issues with provision or funding of this service then it needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency,” said Mr Barclay.