A MUM has spoken out against Bexley Council who she says are insisting she gets a £30,000 house extension for her disabled son rather than a stair lift.
Mrs Cahill of Sandgate Road, Welling, is struggling to carry her five-year-old Callum upstairs because of a back problem and says she will be forced to put him into care if she cannot get a stair lift.
The youngster suffers from autism and global developmental delay and requires round-the-clock care.
When she approached the council for modifications to be made to her stairs they did an assessment and said she would have to have a house extension instead, costing around £30,000.
Mrs Cahill, 40, says the extension would block out a large portion of the living room area, meaning it will be cramped for her other three children, aged four to 13.
She told News Shopper: "I’m trying to save them money by asking for a stair lift instead of an extension but they said it would be unsafe because he might fall out - but I don’t know why we can’t use a harness.
"I spoke to a company, Welling Mobility, who said they’ve fitted them for lots of disabled children before and used to work for Bexley Council.
"It’s stressful enough having a disabled child anyway and then to cope with this is too much.
"We will be forced to put him into care if the situation doesn’t improve, which we really don’t want to, but I just can’t carry him any more."
She has appealed to Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett for help and he has spoken to Bexley Council on her behalf to help resolve the issue.
Welling Mobility manager and main engineer Keith Hunter told News Shopper: “I spoke to Mrs Cahill about this and since she assured me her son would never operate the chairlift himself or use it unsupervised, it would be safe for him to use. There is no need for an extension.
“We have fitted a chairlift for a child before.”
Bexley Council response
A spokesman for Bexley Council said: “We are sorry that Mrs Cahill is disappointed with our decision.
“Two occupational therapists have assessed her son Callum and decided that at present his disability is such that a stair lift would be unsafe for him to use. Callum's safety must be our priority.
“The family have been provided with a powered stair climber. We met Mrs Cahill, with a representative from a stair climbing company, to advise her on how best to use this and would be happy to do so again.
“If this doesn't help, we have offered Mrs Cahill other options.
"These include a downstairs extension, including a new wet room and bedroom, keeping the stair climber and creating a downstairs toilet and installing a bath lift or adapting the upstairs bathroom to include a bath lift or shower all on one level.
“We have also offered the family a sizeable grant or an interest free loan to help them move to a more suitable premises. We are happy to continue to work with Mrs Cahill to find a solution.”