More MS news articles for May 2002

Care axed at day's notice

Saturday 11 May 2002
by Andrew Ffrench

A multiple sclerosis sufferer, who needs social services' help getting into bed was given just one day's notice that he would no longer be receiving assistance.

Andrew Baker, of River Court, Trinity Street, Oxford, is wheelchair-bound.

The Oxford University librarian said he received a phone call on Tuesday, May 7, informing him that no-one would be visiting that night -- or in future, unless there was an emergency.

That night, he did get help from Oxfordshire County Council social services day-care staff, who put him to bed at 9pm. But he has since been forced to rely on his parents, who are both pensioners.

Social services assistant director Jean Carr has promised to investigate the case, insisting that night care should not end until full consultation has taken place.

Dr Baker, 45, who has suffered MS for 20 years, said: "I got a phone call saying that night care staff could no longer help me.

"It was an appalling shock, and I feel depressed, because I have been left in the lurch.

"It seems that the social services department is just abandoning its clients in the interest of making savings on its budget.

"I know a lot of people who are facing the prospect of going into institutional care and the whole point of the 1990 Community Care Act was that local authorities should try to prevent that."

Dr Baker was a social services client before Christmas until he went into the Radcliffe Infirmary for four months of treatment.

This meant that, after being discharged from hospital, he had to telephone staff on a daily basis to ask them to visit and put him to bed.

While he was in the infirmary, a care plan was drawn up, suggesting he would become a client again on his return home, but this did not happen.

Dr Baker said the removal of night care would mean him staying in bed longer each night, which could cause bed sores. "Hiring a live-in carer overnight is prohibitively expensive and it's simply not possible if you live in a one-bedroom flat," he added.

© Copyright 2002 Newsquest Media Group