Norfolk bed-blocking patient ends hunger strike

By Debbie Tubby & Julian Sturdy
BBC News

Image source, Adriano Guedes
Image caption,
Adriano Guedes left James Paget Hospital on 10 January after it was a granted a court order to evict him

A patient evicted from hospital after spending more than two years in a bed has ended a hunger strike.

Adriano Guedes, 64, who was paralysed by a stroke in 2008, was admitted to the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, Norfolk, in 2014.

He was evicted last month after the hospital obtained a court order and is now in a council flat in Suffolk.

Authorities said Mr Guedes' refusal to co-operate had hindered them.

Mr Guedes, a quadriplegic, started a hunger strike to protest against his treatment in the health and care system.

He said he had 2,000 different carers since his stroke in 2008.

Image caption,
Mr Guedes told the BBC he had asked to be moved out of hospital to a "wheelchair-friendly place"

In January he was removed from hospital in a wheelchair following a court order and placed temporarily in an unfurnished council flat in Suffolk.

For 24 days he refused to eat, surviving on fruit juice. Carers, provided by social services, still visit him four times a day.

"I am sick of having the authorities deciding where I should live, when I should eat, how much I eat," said Mr Guedes, who came to the UK from Portugal to work 15 years ago.

He has now given up the hunger strike after the BBC put him in touch with patients' rights campaigner Patrick Thompson.

Mr Thompson, who served on health boards for 40 years, said the case highlighted the need for better integration between health and social care services.

Image caption,
The James Paget University Hospital said Mr Guedes "unnecessarily" occupied the bed

"If I hadn't persuaded him to come off the hunger strike, we would have ended up with an inquest and then fingers would have been pointed," he said.

A spokesman for Suffolk Social Services said: "We explored all options available, but they were declined by him."

James Paget Hospital University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust told the BBC it had acted "compassionately".

Waveney Council, which is responsible for housing, said the current flat was only meant to be temporary and adaptations were not possible until Mr Guedes co-operated with a wheelchair assessment.

Exclusive full story Inside Out BBC ONE East Monday 19:30.

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