Banbury family in despair over Helen and Douglas House cuts

A Banbury family with a severely-disabled son is left wandering how they are going to cope after Helen and Douglas House stops providing end-of-life care for over-18s.

Saturday, 10th February 2018, 7:33 am
Front, Lawrie Thornton with, back, from the left, brother, John Thornton with Gus the dog, mum, Jane Thornton and dad, Tony Thornton, from Banbury. NNL-150519-173626009

The Oxford-based hospice announced last week that it would be scrapping care for 18-35 year-olds at Douglas House in August and cutting 40 per cent of its staff to cut costs.

Thousands of people have signed petitions in opposition to the plans and one family left in despair by the news are the Thorntons, whose 22-year-old son Lawrie has been receiving care at the hospice since 2012.

Lawrie has Jouberts Syndrome, a rare condition which means his movement, speech and, periodically, ability to breathe, are affected leaving him severely impaired and reliant on others.

His father Tony said Douglas House provides ‘fantastic’ treatment for Lawrie as well as giving the family a chance to relax while he was there.

“I don’t see that we’re going to get the same standard of end-of-life care that we get at Douglas House,” he said.

“We’ve nearly lost Lawrie a couple of times and they have saved him, and the break we get when he’s there getting care, it gives us peace of mind.”

Tony said Lawrie can go to another hospice but it only has one bed compared with five or six at Douglas House, and the emergency facilities there mean he can be rushed over whenever they need to.