Tuesday, June 21, 2005


An article from Renfrewshire website:

HUNDREDS of elderly men and women in Renfrewshire are having to wait months for specialist aids that allow them to carry on living in their own home.

The number of people waiting to be assessed for vital items such as walk-in showers and stair-lifts has increased by hundreds over the last year - rising from 400 to 600.

Furious Nationalists say the frail pensioners then have to wait even longer to have the items installed in their homes, making their lives a misery.

SNP politicians hit out at the growing number of people on the waiting list.
Councillor Alastair Nimmo blasted: "This is a problem which is really worrying elderly people.

"They desperately need these adaptations to enable them to stay in their home and move about. But there's a waiting list of 14 to 18 weeks before they're even assessed."

He told social work chiefs: "You might be providing some stuff, but you're not providing enough. We need more money to allow people to stay in their homes."

Fellow SNP councillor, Brian Lawson, added: "To have 600 people waiting on these lists is 600 cases of individual misery.

"These are people waiting for basic adaptations, ramps so they can get in and out of their houses and walk-in showers.

"It's a fairly simple thing which seems to takes months and months."

But Councillor Tommy Williams, convener of the council's community and family care policy board, defended the service social work chiefs provide for senior citizens.

Mr Williams, who is also the authority's older persons' champion, said they spend a massive £32million a year on care for the elderly - more than a third of the social work department's annual budget.

He highlighted the work they do, with thousands benefiting from home helps and hundreds of the most vulnerable people getting more than 10 hours of care and assistance every week.

Mr Williams admitted the waiting list had increased but explained there was a shortage of staff all across the country, coupled with an increase in demand.

He said: "There has been a build- up for the occupational therapy service again but we're working to reduce the waiting list.

"We know the list isn't acceptable but we can't manufacture occupational therapists as there's a nationwide shortage of them and also people's awareness of what is available is increasing."