Blind, paralysed Bexley woman entitled to only 45 minutes of personal care a day

News Shopper: Catherine Lewis with her two sons, Shakeel, 17, and Omar, 20 Catherine Lewis with her two sons, Shakeel, 17, and Omar, 20

A BLIND woman, who is paralysed from the waist down, has been told she can only receive 45 minutes of care a day from the state - meaning her young sons must tend to her personal care needs.

Catherine Lewis, 40, of Sibley Close, Bexleyheath, contracted meningitis in 2006 and is now forced to use a wheelchair.

Her partner has provided most of the personal care over the last eight years but left because he could no longer cope.

He still visits her from Essex occasionally but can no longer provide all the personal care she needs.

Ms Lewis, who is incontinent and has restricted use of her hands because of Raynaud's disease, is often unable to manoeuvre her wheelchair and so is stranded in her own home.

She was recently given a personal care assessment by Bexley Council and was originally told she qualified for no assistance at all.

News Shopper: Blind, paralysed Bexley woman entitled to only 45 minutes of personal care a day

After appealing this decision she was told she could have a carer visit three times a day totalling 45 minutes altogether.

This means her two sons, Shakeel, 17, and Omar, 20, are forced to rush back from college and work to tend to her personal care.

The former interior designer said: "This is a nightmare. If I was a dog they would have come and helped me.

"If I’m struggling with this level of care, what about other people who are worse off than me.

"I was blown away by the lack of care they offered. I’m going to protest outside the House of Commons if I have to.

"I’d worked all my life, always paid my taxes and didn't even claim Maternity Leave and now it’s come to this.

"I'm incredibly vulnerable when I'm on my own but I'm also able to speak out about my situation which many people can't.

"The carers are supposed to come in twice a day - 30 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening.

"What can they do for 15 minutes?"

News Shopper: Blind, paralysed Bexley woman entitled to only 45 minutes of personal care a day

Ms Lewis is concerned about how the experience will affect her two sons.

She said: "My sons shouldn’t have to help me with this.

"I shouldn't be putting this pressure on my children.

"My 17-year-old has missed college to look after me when I’ve been ill. I don’t want them to have to rush back from school or college to help me, they need lives of their own.

"My partner left recently - we still get on but he just couldn’t cope with it anymore.

"Luckily the RNIB have found me a solicitor who is going to help me with this.

"He said he's never heard of anything like this before."

A Bexley Council spokesman said: "We are not able to comment on individual cases.

"We use a detailed assessment process to help decide whether a person is eligible for support.
"Applicants receive an assessment that is presented to a validation panel.

"The panel, made up of commissioning and social work professionals, ensure the assessment meets the person’s needs.

"The panel can also challenge the assessment. This helps to make sure that everyone is treated fairly.

"They have the right to formally appeal or use our statutory complaints procedure."

Comments (4)

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6:17pm Tue 7 Jan 14

whats common about sense says...

I do love how people are surprised when they get treated like this even though they worked all their lives, because everybody else is a scrounger? Those born with a disability are less worthy of assistance and care? I hope this lady gets the care she needs and I hope other people realise that it could happen to them one day too, everybody is just one accident or serious illness away from being the benefits scum they judge daily.
I do love how people are surprised when they get treated like this even though they worked all their lives, because everybody else is a scrounger? Those born with a disability are less worthy of assistance and care? I hope this lady gets the care she needs and I hope other people realise that it could happen to them one day too, everybody is just one accident or serious illness away from being the benefits scum they judge daily. whats common about sense

10:31pm Wed 8 Jan 14

MRSTRUTH says...

Don't believe everything you read - it is quite likely that Ms Lewis is receiving the necessary amount of care based on her assessment. This article should NOT have taken the angle regarding workers v benefit scroungers (that obviously inspired the comment above) as Ms Lewis has certainly NOT worked all her life. She has been known to me since around 2000 and she had not been working for a good few years before this, nor did she work until she says she became ill around 2006. She also 100% claimed benefits from 2001 until she became ill, living in housing benefit financed accommodation.This is not a credible article, the journalist should have checked her facts which may have led her to question other aspects of Ms Lewis's claims - a potentially worthy topic but a very unworthy spokesperson.
Don't believe everything you read - it is quite likely that Ms Lewis is receiving the necessary amount of care based on her assessment. This article should NOT have taken the angle regarding workers v benefit scroungers (that obviously inspired the comment above) as Ms Lewis has certainly NOT worked all her life. She has been known to me since around 2000 and she had not been working for a good few years before this, nor did she work until she says she became ill around 2006. She also 100% claimed benefits from 2001 until she became ill, living in housing benefit financed accommodation.This is not a credible article, the journalist should have checked her facts which may have led her to question other aspects of Ms Lewis's claims - a potentially worthy topic but a very unworthy spokesperson. MRSTRUTH

10:42pm Wed 8 Jan 14

MRSTRUTH says...

And - as 'what's common about sense' says, it is irrelevant whether you have worked all your life or not, if you are disabled you deserve to be assessed and to receive the care that you need. There was no need for Ms Lewis to tell lies about her working history, as it just brings the rest of the article into question.
And - as 'what's common about sense' says, it is irrelevant whether you have worked all your life or not, if you are disabled you deserve to be assessed and to receive the care that you need. There was no need for Ms Lewis to tell lies about her working history, as it just brings the rest of the article into question. MRSTRUTH

12:49pm Thu 9 Jan 14

the wall says...

MRSTRUTH wrote:
Don't believe everything you read - it is quite likely that Ms Lewis is receiving the necessary amount of care based on her assessment. This article should NOT have taken the angle regarding workers v benefit scroungers (that obviously inspired the comment above) as Ms Lewis has certainly NOT worked all her life. She has been known to me since around 2000 and she had not been working for a good few years before this, nor did she work until she says she became ill around 2006. She also 100% claimed benefits from 2001 until she became ill, living in housing benefit financed accommodation.This is not a credible article, the journalist should have checked her facts which may have led her to question other aspects of Ms Lewis's claims - a potentially worthy topic but a very unworthy spokesperson.
Thanks for the added information.
[quote][p][bold]MRSTRUTH[/bold] wrote: Don't believe everything you read - it is quite likely that Ms Lewis is receiving the necessary amount of care based on her assessment. This article should NOT have taken the angle regarding workers v benefit scroungers (that obviously inspired the comment above) as Ms Lewis has certainly NOT worked all her life. She has been known to me since around 2000 and she had not been working for a good few years before this, nor did she work until she says she became ill around 2006. She also 100% claimed benefits from 2001 until she became ill, living in housing benefit financed accommodation.This is not a credible article, the journalist should have checked her facts which may have led her to question other aspects of Ms Lewis's claims - a potentially worthy topic but a very unworthy spokesperson.[/p][/quote]Thanks for the added information. the wall

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