Ilkeston Hospital coffee bar will be Stephen’s lasting legacy

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A coffee bar to be built at Ilkeston Community hospital will be a legacy to Ilkeston man Stephen Harrison.

Parents Peter and Linda Harrison were so impressed with the treatment Stephen received they have donated money to the Ilkeston Hospital League of Friends in his name.

Stephen, who was born with cerebral palsy and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as an adult, died in March 2014 from pneumonia, aged 53.

Mr Harrison said: “When Stephen died we decided we needed to do something. We agreed with our daughter Sharon that we would give his money to the hospital. We asked Mike Perry (president of the LOF) to come up with some ideas. The coffee shop means we can go up there whenever we want and it will bring the it into the 21st Century. At the moment there is no atmosphere.”

Mr Harrison used to take Stephen to Ilkeston Hospital once a month to get weighed and carers would regularly help him at his bungalow. He described his son as ‘clever’ and still has his CV which has a list a ‘mile long’ of qualifications and jobs. He was also a keen photographer and was good at digitally manipulating images.

Mr Harrison, 81, said: “We are always thinking about him. This (the coffee bar) is what he would have wanted.”

It is also hoped that a shop will be opened at the hospital.

Mike Perry said: “Mr and Mrs Harrison were impressed with the way Stephen was treated. When his condition got worse they set out to make sure he did everything he wanted to do.” He said the designs are already underway for the coffee shop and are being done by a local architect.

“That’s what Mr Harrison wants for his lad to be able to sit there in a busy coffee bar and think ‘this is in memory of our son.’ said Mike. “We also want a shop, instead of selling items from tables.”

In coming months the responsibility for running of services at the hospital is set to change. As part of a ‘strategic shift’, from October, Derbyshire Community Services Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will take on responsibility for community services for the Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, while consultant-led planned care will be transferred to DTFT in the spring.

This will mean that, from spring, consultant-led outpatient services and theatres at Ilkeston Hospital will be managed by the Derby trust.

A spokesman for DCHS, which will be taking on community services in the city of Derby, said: “The boards of both trusts have agreed in principle that each organisation will re-focus on its core business, which for DHFT is the consultant-led planned care services, whilst for DCHS it is community-based services. We are hoping it increases what we are able to offer at Ilkeston. Derby has got a waiting list for orthopaedic treatments - people will be able to get treated at Ilkeston instead of going to Derby.”

He added it not about reducing services but rather about making the best use of the available capacity at Ilkeston, while allowing the respective providers to ‘re-focus on their core areas of expertise.’

At Ilkeston Community Hospital much of the equipment, including scopes that scan for bladder cancer, is paid for with money from the league of friends as a result of fundraisers or money left by former patients.