Young woman campaigns to stop closure of specialist brain injury service

A young woman who was left with a severe brain injury after a car crash is campaigning to stop the closure of a specialist service that helped her walk and talk again.
Heather after accident and now
Heather Peacock, of West Bridgford, was rushed by air ambulance into intensive care at the Queen's Medical Centre after she was flung through her windscreen when she lost control of her car and smashed into an oncoming vehicle. The 24-year-old – who was months away from graduating from university – was left with a severe traumatic brain injury and was transferred to the hospital's major trauma unit, where she spent eight weeks in a coma. Heather had to learn how to walk and talk again as her injury meant she lost mobility in her left arm and leg and in the left-hand side of her face. Her recovery and rehabilitation took place at Linden Lodge, based at the City Hospital, where the traumatic brain injury team oversaw her treatment after being discharged. The specialist service still continues to support Heather, who can now walk and talk again and is hoping to finish her degree next year. However just before Christmas, the Nottingham North and East Clinical Commissioning Group announced it was stopping funding the service from July 2017. Heather is now asking the public to write to the group to encourage commissioners to rethink their decision. She said: "This is a terrible decision. The new proposals would mean cuts to services and the dissolution of the re-ablement team, plus a severe reduction in neuro outpatient care. "Once I was discharged from inpatients, I felt incredibly lost and abandoned. "One of my goals was to climb the stairs at home, so I could sleep in my own bedroom. The team helped me achieve this goal through intensive physiotherapy and encouragement. "The process was slow but eventually I was able to reach my room without assistance. It helped me gain back some independence and the privacy that I had previously lost." The crash happened on April 1 last year as Heather was driving home from the University of Northampton, where she was studying psychology. Her mother, Sue, 62, told the Post: "She lost control of the car and it swerved to the right, where she collided with an oncoming vehicle on the other side of the road. "She went through the windscreen and hit her head. Heather was wearing her seatbelt but because of the sideways impact, the airbags didn't deploy." "As part of our review, we have identified a range of services that can be delivered closer to patients' homes and that provide better value to the local NHS. "In these cases we are working to re-commission these services. Elements of services that need to be delivered in a hospital setting, will continue to be delivered there. "This will provide more convenient access for patients and service users as well as better value for public money." A consultation on the changes will be running until February 5, 2017. People can send comments to pet@nottinghamnortheastccg.nhs.uk or write to Freepost RTHU-JLJL-LGLT, Patient Experience Team, South Nottinghamshire CCGs, Civic Centre, Arnot Hill Park, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 6LU.
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