A campaign to save a hospital aftercare service has received overwhelming support from the public, who have shared their heartfelt personal experiences of the centre.

Benjamin Court reablement service, in Cromer, closed in June this year.

It provided short-stay care beds for people well enough to be discharged from hospital but not well enough to return home.

However, Norfolk County Council closed its doors as part of wider plans to offer a similar care service at people’s homes instead.

Now, reviews of Benjamin Court obtained by Healthwatch Norfolk have called for the service to reopen.

“We need more rehabilitation units like Benjamin Court, not less,” one person, whose husband was there while recovering from sepsis after spending several weeks in hospital, said.

“Frail and sick people are now being sent home to receive minimal homecare. The result is that some of them are returning to hospital within a week or two.

“This would not happen if a rehabilitation bed were available.”

North Norfolk News: Benjamin Court, CromerBenjamin Court, Cromer (Image: Colin Finch)

Another person, whose dad was at the centre for palliative for the last three weeks of his life, spoke highly of the staff and service provided.

“The staff looked after him brilliantly and nothing was too much trouble.

“They cared for us too and told us everything that was happening and reassured me that dad would stay there close to home to be cared for.

“We were allowed to stay with dad anytime, and during the night too. It was a quiet and peaceful calm environment.

“I do not believe there is any other facility in Cromer for palliative care which is so important for end-of-life patients.”

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North Norfolk News: Campaigners outside Benjamin CourtCampaigners outside Benjamin Court (Image: Supplied)

Healthcare Norfolk received a dozen reviews, and all 12 people rated their experience at Benjamin Court a score of five-out-of-five.

“My time at Benjamin Court was special,” another person, who was there for two weeks after having a knee operation, said.

Another added: “My husband was in Benjamin Court and the care was second to none.

“He had an individual room, and the care was there as and when he needed it. It was spotlessly clean.

"Nothing was too much trouble for me or him.

“This will be the first winter without Benjamin Court and the staff are now having to do home visits.

“What about when the snow and ice come? Staff are wasting their time going between houses.

“Staff are better placed in the Benjamin Court hospital and the patients are too.”

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North Norfolk News: More than 100 people attended a meeting in AugustMore than 100 people attended a meeting in August (Image: Supplied)

More than 100 people attended a public meeting in August attended by a panel of health leaders from the NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB) and Norfolk County Council (NCC) adult social services.

Commenting on the Healthwatch Norfolk findings, Martin Booth, Save Benjamin Court campaigner and secretary of North Norfolk Trades Union Council, said: "This report confirms powerfully what we have been saying since the sudden closure of the reablement service at Benjamin Court in July – that local people really need a service which supports those leaving acute hospital care who are not yet ready to go home.

"This was expressed loud and clear at the march and rally in Cromer last month, and now an officially-recognised body monitoring patient care is demonstrating that this is how the community feels.

"We are now calling on the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board, as the body which commissions health and care services in our region, to reopen Benjamin Court as a reablement and convalescence facility for the people of North Norfolk, as part of a wider programme to tackle the crisis of delayed discharges from our acute hospitals.

"We have collected many hundreds of signatures on our petition to save Benjamin Court, and will be presenting it to the ICB at their next board meeting on November 28."