Nelson father’s anguish as Burnley General Hospital children’s ward closes

A NELSON father has praised the care his son has been given over the years at Burnley General Hospital’s children’s ward - but says that other families will not be as fortunate because of its closure.

For almost 18 years, Mr Andrew Cable has been attending the Deerplay Ward in Burnley with his 17-year-old son James, who has a severe lung disease which was diagnosed when he was just 10 weeks old.

Since then, James has been a regular patient on the ward - often staying there for days on end so he can be treated with antibiotic infusions for his rare condition, Hyper-IgE Syndrome (Job syndrome).

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Despite numerous campaigns from local MPs and also the public, it was confirmed by the Strategic Health Authority at the beginning of this month that the ward will be relocated to the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

Mr Cable, of Carr Road, said: “We feel let down that the hospital decided that they would close the only medical children’s ward in our area. It is more the principle of it closing. People feel as though they have been let down and I feel sorry for those who are going to suffer because of the move.”

When James was just five days old, his health deteriorated and his parents were told that his condition was caused by a stat three gene defect and he would have to rely on treatment.

Now James, who attends Nelson and Colne College one day a week where he is working towards completion of his GCSEs, is in a wheelchair and has to take oxygen around with him.

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Over the years, the Cable family like so many others have relied on the care and support of the doctors and nurses on the ward to provide nursing for him.

Mr Cable added: “Some of the staff have worked there for years and worked so hard. No doubt it’s going to affect them too. It will be putting hardship on the families, not to mention the financial difficulties with the rising cost of petrol to get to and from Blackburn which all adds to the stress.”

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Because James is not yet 18, he will also have to attend the Royal Blackburn Hospital before moving to an adult care unit which could be at Manchester or even Newcastle. James himself feels upset about what has happened and has even made a video on Facebook thanking the team there who he has built up such a close bond with.