All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for January 2004

Heartless NHS refuses to care for their own

Jan 29, 2004
Andrew Brightwell
Ham & High

A WOMAN paralysed with multiple sclerosis has been refused care by the NHS, despite her doctor’s concluding she needs “round-the-clock” attention.

Rosalie Kerbekian, 64, a former NHS employee, is permanently confined to bed and cannot move or go to the toilet without the assistance of a carer.

But last month, she was told that a Camden Primary Care Trust committee had decided she would not receive financial help with night-time care, which currently costs her £75-a-night.

Now the retired child psychotherapist, who worked and trained at the Tavistock Clinic in Belsize Lane and now lives in Highgate, is desperate for the decision to be reversed.

She told the Ham&High that she relied on the carers to wash her, go to the toilet and turn her over at night, as well as cook and clean for her.

“I have to be turned over in bed at least every hour by carers because I can’t move my legs at all anymore.

“I was told by social services, who pay for my care during the day, that the NHS is responsible for my care during the night

“Now the NHS have told me that they won’t pay for it, but haven’t given a reason.

“I am upset about it because it has forced me into considerable debt and I have had to borrow from a friend who can no longer lend me money.

“It means I have no money to pay for the night care from now on and I don’t know what will happen.

“I am articulate enough to voice my concerns. I feel I may be speaking for many others in the same situation who are aren’t able or are too afraid to complain.”

Ms Kerbekian’s GP, Dr Cornel Fleming, of the Dartmouth Park surgery on Dartmouth Park Hill, told the Ham&High he believes the decision was made entirely on financial grounds.

“The decision stinks. Any doctor would tell you that she needs night care. I have no doubt that this is not a clinical decision and is the result of the NHS being run by accountants.

“I have complained, making numerous calls, but so far it has gone nowhere.

“She is a multiple sclerosis patient who is paralysed and needs round-the-clock attention to do the very basic things.”

A spokeswoman for Camden Primary Care Trust said it could not release details why Ms Kerbekian had been refused care because it remained confidential.

“Her case went before a continuing care panel, which is made up of health and social care specialists who are not involved in the case and they turned the night-care down.

“A complaint has been made and the decision will be reviewed.”

© Copyright 2004, Ham & High