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Man spends 9 extra months in hospital due to rejection of funding for stairlift

28th August 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

A family from Lybster, Scotland, have voiced their anger at how long Kevin Morrice, the son of George and Syd Morrice, was forced to stay in hospital after being paralysed in a car crash. Kevin spent almost a year and a half in hospital, far longer than he needed to, and the reason for his prolonged stay was because the family were having difficulty getting a home stairlift installed.

Syd Morrice has voiced her anger at the decision of the Highland Council in Scotland after her application for a disability grant to have a stairlift installed in the family home was rejected. The Morrice family needed to have an outdoor all-weather stairlift installed for Kevin to get to the front door of their home, and in order to fund this they needed a £3,385 disability grant to be awarded by the Highland Council. Representatives from the housing and social work department met with the family to discuss the work, however they rejected the initial application as they believed that the stairlift would not be able to stand up to the elements.

The Highland Council overturned the rejection seven months later and approved the funding of an all-weather outdoor stairlift installation. However, during that time, Kevin was unnecessarily kept in hospital. He could not return home without having the stairlift installed, so although he was physically able to live in the family home he instead returned seventeen months after the accident - a time period that could have been shortened by nine months, according to Syd and George Morrice.

Syd Morrice has said that the council's delayed response shows a "lack of respect for the disabled", according to this news story in the John O'Groat Journal. The grant for the stairlift was awarded after the family proposed a £25,000 alternative that was then subsequently rejected, before reapplying for the £3,385 grant which was then approved. Outdoor stairlifts are specifically designed to withstand the effects of weather, including both very high and very low temperatures, which was sure to make the rejection on the grounds of inability to stand up to weather conditions all the more frustrating for the Morrice family.

Other adaptations suited to those who have mobility difficulties include recliner chairs and accessible showers, and the family have had relatively little trouble funding additions such as these to their home through the use of savings and arranging fundraising events. The family are hoping that the council will improve their disability grant awarding system in the future so that other families do not face the same difficulties in getting funding for stairlifts.

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