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Disabled Boughton girl Elke Wisbey, 12, on life support after Kent County Council 'safeguarding' policy change


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A 12-year-old disabled girl was rushed to intensive care a week after her school stopped the life-saving therapies she was receiving.

Elke Wisbey has suffered from serious disabilities since birth and has undergone daily treatment at Maidstone’s Five Acre Wood School since an almost fatal bout of pneumonia in 2009.

For six years school staff have administered 12 procedures that Elke relies on including chest physio and suctioning (removing mucus and fluids from the nose and mouth) and the youngster has remained out of hospital.

Elke Wisbey is currently in intensive care at Southampton General Hospital
Elke Wisbey is currently in intensive care at Southampton General Hospital

But after correspondence between Kent County Council and the Boughton Lane special school they were ceased with immediate effect with mum Glynnis only finding out the day before.

Just over a week later, on May 21, Elke was taken to Southampton General Hospital’s specialist paediatric unit with a severe chest infection.

Elke, of Faversham Road, Boughton Lees, has made progress, now being free of the ventilator for up to 20 hours a day, but her right lung is incredibly fragile and keeps collapsing.

Five Acre Wood has told Mrs Wisbey the situation is the result of a new KCC safeguarding protocol which outlines steps which must be taken for treatments to be given.

For six years school staff performed 12 procedures that Elke relies on including chest physio and suctioning
For six years school staff performed 12 procedures that Elke relies on including chest physio and suctioning

The school requires a letter from a paediatrician outlining the treatments and confirming all staff are trained, which should be supported by a physiotherapist’s report.

But a KCC spokesman said the authority could not be sure where the protocol had come from.

She said: “KCC is aware of the admission of a pupil to hospital and is looking into the matter with the school.

"We are corresponding with the family and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time and we wish their child a speedy recovery.”

Elke with her mother Glynnis Wisbey and her brother Galahad 9. The family are pictured with Elke's Smart box, bought for Elke after a campaign in the KM
Elke with her mother Glynnis Wisbey and her brother Galahad 9. The family are pictured with Elke's Smart box, bought for Elke after a campaign in the KM

Mrs Wisbey said: “We are part way through an education and joint care plan, so why stop the treatments now? I agree it’s sensible and safe for staff to be trained, but that’s what the plan is designed to do.

“So why pre-empt it and change the provision without notice?

“For six years staff have administered the treatment which has kept her out of hospital without any problem.

“We’ve just been appointed a paediatrician and if we had been given notice a report could have been compiled and this situation avoided. It should not be this easy to take therapies away.”

The mother of two said: “Elke’s a little fighter and will be back at school soon as the happy and delightful little girl everyone loves.”


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