Closure fears over hospital pool move
THE hydrotherapy pool at Torbay Hospital may be moved.
Patients who use the pool are concerned it might be closed down as part of plans to extend the adjacent overcrowded fracture clinic.
But a hospital spokesman said: "There is absolutely no truth in the rumour the hydrotherapy pool is to close.
"There is talk about it perhaps being relocated on the site because of the fact that the fracture clinic may be enlarged. It is certainly not going to close."
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The pool was opened in 1978 by the Duke of Edinburgh after funds were raised by the Torbay Arthritis Project.
It is used by people of all ages in hospital and by GP referral in the community with rheumatism, for physiotherapy, pain management, podiatry and paediatrics.
Wheelchair-bound Clare Spooner, 45, has had nine joint replacements and has been using the pool for almost 10 years.
She said there were fears for the future of the pool.
She said: "The expansion of the fracture clinic is something that is needed, but not at the expense of the pool.
"Parking is already a serious problem with only a few spaces for both the pool and fracture clinic.
"It causes problems for people on crutches and for ambulances which are not left enough room to turn."
Former hydrotherapy patient and fundraiser Lesley Williams, from Paignton , said she only learned to walk again after a severe motorbike crash because of the pool and its staff.
She said: "For more than a year after the crash I was taken twice a week to the hydrotherapy pool.
"When you are not able to move at all, being able to get into the water and feel freedom is absolutely beyond words.
"For everybody who goes in the pool it raises morale. The staff are just excellent.
"It got me from not being able to move to being able to walk.
"The really sad thing is that it is still not used enough — some staff at the hospital and some GPs don't even know it exists.
"It's a really well kept secret."