Lack of care workers forces disabled woman into care home

Disabled woman forced to leave home due to lack of care workers


A disabled woman has been forced to leave her home because of a lack of care workers.

Kathleen Robertson, 60, had been able to live in her flat in Ellon with the help of staff from care-at-home providers, Raeburn Healthcare four times a week.

But when Raeburn announced they did not have enough staff to continue their support, Aberdeenshire Council social workers also said they could not find any workers to help her either.

Mrs Robertson, who has multiple sclerosis and is paralysed from the neck down, has been living on her own in a specially-modified flat for three years, but now she has had no choice but to lose her independence and move to nearby Auchtercrag Care Home.

The former nurse of 30 years said it felt like the life she had built for herself had been cruelly snatched away because of the lack of resources from a council which underspent £26m last year.

She said: “In my own flat I don’t feel disabled. I can make phone calls, open my own front door and order my own shopping.

“Here I have nothing. I’ve gone from living in a beautiful flat where I’ve got choices, to having no choices.

“I feel like everything I’ve struggled to keep hold of these last five years has been taken away from me in one fell scoop. The council has the money – they could solve my problem.”

Mrs Robertson was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) in April 2007, and although her husband Donnie died in 2010, she had lived a happy life thanks to help from her part-time carers.

She will also have to move away from the area because the current care home is deemed not suitable for her needs.

She said: “I can’t bear the thought of being moved anywhere else. I’ve always been a positive person but I’m starting to lose my grip on reality. I wake up in the morning and I know I’ve got a day ahead of watching TV – it’s all I’ve got.

“I realise for some people this is suitable, but my head is still active. The care companies and the council just know me as times on a computer screen. If they got to know me and realise the kind of person I am, they would know I can’t stay here.

“I remember saying when I was diagnosed with MS that I would have a fight on my hands. I never thought for one moment that it would be the authorities I’d be fighting.”

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said it was desperately trying to hire more staff for care-at-home services and had invested an extra £1.5m into their care services.

He said: “There has been a significant increase in the demand for care-at-home services and Aberdeenshire Council has responded by running a successful recruitment campaign across the whole area. We are hopeful of having new care staff available in Ellon shortly.”

A spokeswoman for Raeburn Health Services said they were unable to discuss the details of clients.