Cllr Barry Aspinell has slammed Essex social services at their failure to allow two wheelchair-bound Pilgrims Hatch residents their dignity and independence.
Barry has been trying to get improvements to the home of Terry & Madge Tucker for over a year. The Tuckers are currently forced to negotiate their two wheelchairs around a cramped kitchen with high cupboards and worktops that are also too high.
Recently, Terry was stranded in his bed for eight days before social services fixed the hoist which lifts him in and out of bed, during which time the house became filled with smoke from a faulty oven.
When the fire service arrived they struggled to evacuate not only Terry but also his wife Madge, who cannot leave the house without assistance because the correct ramps have not been installed at the front or back doors.
Firefighters were so concerned about the couple's accessibility and the width of their doors, they referred the matter to Brentwood council's housing department, which owns the house.
The couple say they have been left to sleep in their wheelchairs on more than one occasion when no-one came for their evening visit and that, due to the restricted working hours of their carers, Terry has to go to bed at 8pm most nights and often not helped up for 12 hours.
Cllr Barry Aspinell said:
"I think it's a disgrace that people living in 2009 are having to put up with this sort of shoddy care.
"It's as if they are second-class citizens and they don't deserve the same sort of benefits we all enjoy.
"It's horrendous the fact that social services still has not done anything."
"This could have been a life and death situation. As an ex-fireman I was horrified when Madge told me - I know that smoke kills more than fire."
Essex County Council, who are responsible for making the alternations to the Tucker's house, has recently been given a damning 'inadequate' grade by the government's inspectors OFSTED for child protection whilst being the ninth highest spending council on marketing and PR in the country.
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