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Woman, 87, 'forced' to leave West View hospital, Tenterden, with fears move could kill her

A frail 87-year-old grandmother "cried her little heart out" when she was told she needed to leave the place that's become her home — and her son fears the move could kill her.

Pat Clarke has spent the last eight years at West View hospital, Tenterden, following a catastrophic stroke that deprived her of speech, but now Kent County Council's social services say she has to leave.

Pat Clarke is distressed after being told that she has to leave West View Hospital in Tenterden
Pat Clarke is distressed after being told that she has to leave West View Hospital in Tenterden

It has led to her son John-Paul launching a heart-wrenching appeal for Pat to be left to "see out her days" at the hospital.

Describing his mum as one of life's "stoics", he said the only other time he had witnessed her shedding tears was at the death of his dad Ken – Pat's husband of 53 years.

The devoted pair had spent many happy years together in Hythe, where Ken was the verger at St Leonard's church.

Jean-Paul, who lives in Tenterden high street, claims the decision to move Pat to a nursing home has been taken without full consultation with the family.

He added: "I feel like we are being brow-beaten into looking at alternative care homes and that if we don't engage with the process they [KCC] could ship her out to somewhere like Canterbury where it will be more difficult to make regular visits."

Pat and Ken were devoted to each other
Pat and Ken were devoted to each other

West View, which is shared by KCC and the NHS, came under scrutiny last August when KentOnline revealed that Benenden West ward had been closed for a year while a bed review was conducted.

Pat’s mobility worsened after she broke her hip in a fall and had it replaced, but Jean-Paul claimed nothing in her medical notes or care plan indicating a substantial change in her needs to justify the move.

The 52-year old believes there is an absence of “humanity” in the care system and asked people to share his story on Facebook as “this could be your own elderly parents or yourself in years to come”.

He added: “When I told mum she would have to move out of West View she cried her little heart out. It was absolutely horrible to see and I’m worried that if she does have to leave that she’ll give up on life.

“It could kill her.”

A Kent County Council spokeswoman said: “The safety and wellbeing of our social care individuals is paramount to Kent County Council.

“Whilst we don’t comment on individual cases, when the needs of anyone under KCC care can no longer be met by their current care facility, the council is duty bound to place them in a suitable alternative facility where they will receive the correct level of care and improved living.”

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