Car crash victim campaigns for reopening of St Albans Hospital hydrotherapy pool
PUBLISHED: 18:00 23 July 2015
An X-Factor contestant left disabled after a car crash has launched a campaign to push health chiefs into reopening the hydrotherapy pool at St Albans City Hospital.
Ayo Ogundimu’s life changed dramatically after a vehicle hit the back of his car at a T junction 10 years ago, which resulted in the 49 year old suffering a torn disc in his spine.
Until then, he had been a regular gym-goer who enjoyed weight training.
Ayo had a major operation in 2010 where metal plates were inserted in his back, which enabled him to stand and walk without pain.
He returned to work in 2011 followed by an appearance on the X Factor in 2012, successfully making it through to the boot camp stage, but no further.
Unfortunately, his relief was short-lived as the chronic pain returned.
He said: “The pain came back really bad, and my work had to let me go. I went back to hospital and they tried treating me by putting a steroid injection straight into my spine, but it didn’t work, and it didn’t help.”
To help manage the chronic pain, Ayo had been hoping to use the hydrotherapy pool at St Albans Hospital, which he had previously found beneficial.
But when he tried to organise sessions there recently, he learned it had been permanently closed in June last year.
Health chiefs decided to pull the plug on the vital service after leaving patients high and dry over the possible closure for nine long months.
It had been shut in September 2013 because of a gas leak from a damaged pipe.
Ayo has set up a facebook page with a petition to “save our St Albans hydrotherapy for chronic pain sufferers now.”
On it, he says: “Hundreds of chronic pain sufferers using the pool have been left in unbearable pain as a result of the closure…we must not take this lying down.”
He told the Herts Advertiser: “I decided to do something about it as so many people are in desperate need of the hydro pool.
“The benefit to the community in having the hydro pool is that chronic pain sufferers like myself will be more active, thus relying less on medication and using a combination of hydrotherapy and self-help techniques to keep active, despite the pain.”
A spokesman for Herts Community NHS Trust said that the cost to repair and maintain the pool was over £200,000, and that because of budgetary constraints, meeting that cost would have resulted in cuts being made to other services.
For more information and to support Ayo’s campaign see www.facebook.com/ReopenStAlbanshospitalhydrotherapynow