Letter: Hospital is home

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The Independent Online
Sir: Those families who try to keep open hospitals for the mentally handicapped will be heartened by the articles by Rosie Waterhouse (27 March).

Forty five years ago, I undertook locum duties at Meanwood Park Hospital which was then the largest hospital for the mentally handicapped in Yorkshire, and spent most of my working life there. In 1957, one of my five children was found to be profoundly mentally handicapped and, unable to cope, his mother reluctantly agreed that he could be admitted to the place where I was employed.

During this period, "our" hospital improved tremendously both in its facilities and in the attitudes of the staff towards the patients. Half of it is now boarded up and its occupants, apart from "managers", are being relocated to an increasingly dangerous community. By all means encourage those who can cope, to return to decent homes in the community. But for others a "hospital village" is the ideal place for them to be looked after. It also offers respite care for others at a reasonable cost to the taxpayer.

Yours sincerely,

KEN PRESTWICH

Parents and Relatives Association

of Meanwood Park Hospital

Leeds

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