Put patients before profit and save this vital unit

Steve's baby daughter made amazing progress this week, or so his wife thought

STEVE CANAVAN: It was a lot of rattle over just a little roll

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For those whose lives have been turned around, if not saved, by the Baytrees unit, the mere thought it might close is horrifying.

This much-needed and, according to those treated there, much-loved unit, is quite patently serving an enormous need in Portsmouth and the surrounding area.

Do not take our word for it, read the views of former patients in our story on page 5 today.

The last thing in the world they care about are the labyrinthine workings of the NHS, its bean counters and penpushers.

All they know and deeply care about is that the Baytrees unit at St James’s Hospital, Milton, Portsmouth, should not close.

Those people have today described the loving treatment they received there as a lifeline for those recovering from drink and drug addiction.

They claim people could die if the service is cut.

It is the only NHS-run drug rehabilitation unit in Hampshire.

Claire Holland, from North End, Portsmouth, puts it succinctly. ‘This place was my last port of call and it has saved my life. I don’t want it to go because I want other people to have the support I did,’ she says.

John Thomson, from Landport, Portsmouth, is equally supportive. He says: ‘When I went to Baytrees I was given hope, hope to live and actually do things. They have changed my way of thinking and I couldn’t be more grateful.’

Baytrees’ invaluable work usually goes on quietly behind the scenes. It is part of the NHS we assume will always be there should any of us be unfortunate enough to need it.

The unending quest to turn a profit in the health service surely was never intended to hive off such critical services. If it was, it’s time to think again.

To read the full story click here.