Just what is happening to care for the elderly and disabled within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets?
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets
Just after hearing about Tower Hamlets Council stopping it’s funding for nursery services in the borough, resulting in the closure of nurseries in the area, I had occasion to call their support for the elderly and disabled, !st Response.
My need was simple. All I needed was for them to replace the orthopaedic high back chair, which they provided, as the weld supporting the front of the seat had broken. (No comments about my weight please!)
Yesterday I contacted my usual number, for the Community Equipment Service to arrange a like for like exchange. They told me that they could arrange for my damaged one to be collected, but I would have to call the !st Response Team to arrange a replacement.
As I was going out, I waited until today to give them a call.
I first called them at 12.24pm, and following the usual verbal reminder that calls could be recorded etc, the line was switched to a muzak drone, and a there was no sign of anyone answering, I assumed that they must be at lunch.
I called them back at 4.05pm, and spoke to a gentleman named Mohammed.
He told me that he couldn’t understand why the CES could not deal with me, so he first said that he would call them and let me know the result.
He soon called me back saying he still couldn’t sort things out, as the person I’d spoken to was not in. He asked if I could call him back tomorrow, around 3.00pm. I asked if it were not more logical for him to call me when he had the information, but he insisted that I should call him, so I could remind him of the problem.
I couldn’t believe my ears then. I asked him to clarify that my problem could so be easily forgotten by him. He confirmed this, adding that he had a lot of work on, so he might forget me. He then suggested that I could purchase an orthopaedic chair myself, or use another chair or settee and he could arrange risers for them. I pointed out that I don’t have any other suitable chair or settee to use. (Which is true, as 1/3 of my living room is a mini-office I use for blogging and my voluntary charity work, ,1/3 a parking and workshop area for my mobility scooter (as the Council have told me that I can’t keep it outside my flat!) and the last third is my living room!) and when I also pointed out that I don’t have the money to buy a replacement, he told me that the Council are no longer providing the elderly and disabled with the standard orthopaedic chair.
At this point I pointed out how bad all of this would look on one of my blog sites, (like this one!) he then said he’d call me back.
He called me back to let me know that he has passed on the case to his manager, and I will hear from her soon.
I received one more quick call from him to confirm my address! Yes, you heard right, even though I confirmed my address the first time I spoke to him.
I am seriously worried about the capability of those in council employment, and the standards they set.
Within a 12 hour period I have found that they have reduced service to Parents, the Elderly and the Disabled. Who’s next, the Deceased? (Perhaps I shouldn’t have given you that idea!)
The time has come for a service of outside assessors to come into the management operations of Tower Hamlets Council and Tower Hamlets Homes, in order to assess their various department’s efficiency. And it can’t be done too soon.
I’ll keep you updated of how things develop.
Update: Thursday 30th November 2018
Four weeks have passed, and I have not heard from anyone on this matter.
I am having to use a typing chair in place of my orthopaedic chair, and as it’s definitely not designed for the use it’s getting, it is already creaking badly. But even worse, every day my already severely damaged spine is becoming more painful.
I called 1st Response today to find out what’s happening.
A lady answered the telephone, and I asked what the situation is on my chair, and informed her of the situation I am in.
I was informed that I had been put on a list for re-assessment before they can issue my chair.
I asked how long it would take for this assessment to take place, and she told me that they have no idea. I pointed out that the chair I am having to use is on casters which do not have locks or brakes, and so it moves backwards every time I try to stand or sit, and is definitely not orthopaedic.
I pointed out that as the condition of my spine is deteriorating daily, I am in great pain, and it can’t be much longer before something gives way. Most likely the spine itself.
I was informed that I would be placed onto a priority list, but they still have no idea how long it would be before I am even re-assessed, let alone to get the chair.
I finally had no option but to leave things with them, and telling them that I would be putting this on the internet, and will call them if I don’t hear from them by Wednesday of next week.
I also made it clear that if anything detrimental happens with my spine, there could now be legal consequences.
I’ll let you know what happens next!