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Grandmother salutes unsung NHS heroes of Springwell Centre at Barnet Hospital
When charismatic grandmother Mildred Fleischer was invited to an elderly day centre at Barnet Hospital, she admits she was more than a little hesitant.
But the bubbly pensioner was so impressed with the activities and treatment provided by the “wonderful” staff, she felt compelled to shout about the NHS’s unsung heroes.
The Springwell Centre at the Wellhouse Lane hospital in High Barnet provides holistic day programmes for older people experiencing mental health issues.
Following a prolonged period of stress, Mrs Fleisher was invited to take part in some of the activities run by specialist staff at the centre, which caters for between 30 and 50 patients every week.
As well as arts and crafts sessions, quizzes and lunches, a dedicated team of nurses, therapists and psychologists offer personalised non-medicinal treatments.
Some of those attending suffer serious mental illnesses, including dementia and psychotic illness, but for others the sessions are a chance for some relaxation and respite.
The grandmother-of-five, of Woodside Park Road, North Finchley, said: “I absolutely can’t fault them – the staff are wonderful and they have been helping me an awful lot.
“They have time for you, they talk to you and they listen, which is not always the case when you get older.”
Mrs Fleischer admits now that she was initially put off by the idea of a day centre for elderly people because of her youthful outlook on life.
The mother-of-two, who used to work in retail in the West End, said: “I usually prefer to be around younger people but having been I can say it was great. I feel I can let go and I can relax there – all the staff are really passionate about their jobs.”
Manager Dave Sunnasy says about 90 per cent of the patients treated at the centre respond positively to the holistic treatments provided.
He believes comments like those from Mrs Fleisher make the job of him and his team all the more rewarding.
He said: “We like to look at the person, rather than the illness and their social and spiritual needs rather as well as the physical.
“It can be very rewarding to see how they progress with us and how they respond to the different treatments.
“It is always nice to get some positive feedback. Most of the time when you hear about NHS services you hear about the negatives but it is nice to recognise the positive things happening in the hospital - we really appreciate that.”