Oliver is off to school and freed from hospital bed

WORRY Rachel Taplin holding a picture of seven-year-old Oliver. Picture: Malcolm Wells (132753-4559)
WORRY Rachel Taplin holding a picture of seven-year-old Oliver. Picture: Malcolm Wells (132753-4559)
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A BOY who was trapped in hospital while authorities argued over his care bill has been told he can go to a specialist school.

As previously reported, seven-year-old Oliver Taplin, from Warsash, has been in Southampton General Hospital since July.

He has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and his condition has become so complex he needs 24-hour medical care.

His mum Rachel Taplin spoke of her heartbreak in Friday’s News as authorities argued over who should pick up the £6,000-a-week bill to send Oliver to a specialist school, called Young Epilepsy at St Piers School, in Surrey.

Oliver could not return home as there was no care package in place to provide the medical attention he needed, meaning that he was effectively trapped in a hospital bed.

Now after a series of meetings, the West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Hampshire County Council’s social service have agreed to send Oliver to the school.

Rachel, 31, said: ‘It is bittersweet really. I thought I would be dancing with joy if I got this result but actually now we have to deal with Oliver going away and how serious this actually is.’

A meeting will be held on Thursday with Oliver’s parents and the school to work out a date for him to start.

Rachel said: ‘It has been a long time. He is looking forward to getting out of those four walls.

‘I told him he was off on a new adventure and he sort of smiled. There is so much stuff there that he is going to have a whale of a time doing, it is just going to be hard living life in a completely different way.’

Oliver will attend the school for one year, with the funding reviewed depending on his progress.

Rachel said: ‘We hope they can stabilise him long enough so that one day he can come back home and go to a mainstream school again, but it is each bridge as we come to it.’

A spokesman from West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group said it did not comment on individual cases but added: ‘Our priority is to work closely with our partners to ensure the most appropriate package of care for the individual circumstances.

‘Our objective is always to provide the right care, delivered in the right place, at the right time.’

Cllr Keith Mans, executive lead member for children’s services at the county council, said: ‘I am pleased to confirm that, together with our partners in health, we have agreed a package of education and care for Oliver for the next year.

‘During this time we will monitor his progress to ensure that his needs are continuing to be met. Finding the right solution for these more complex cases is always a challenge, especially for the parents. We do our utmost to make a difficult process easier for families.’


OLIVER will now go to Young Epilepsy, at St Piers School, in Surrey.

It is one of only two schools in the country that could offer Oliver the care he needs alongside an education. He will board there, coming home during holidays.

Lisa Farmer, interim chief executive, said: ‘We are delighted that Oliver’s placement has been accepted. Oliver will be in the very best place to receive all the care and support he needs. We very much look forward to welcoming him soon.’