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‘Totally unacceptable’: Angus MS sufferer has to pay for help to eat

Jackie Smith is unable to do many things without help
Jackie Smith is unable to do many things without help

An Angus disabled woman discarded by the care system has been forced to shell out for extra help to feed herself.

Jackie Smith, who has multiple sclerosis (MS), has now gone 11 days without adequate support after being told a private service contracted by Angus Council would no longer visit her.

It means she is only being given two hours of professional help each day by the local authority, despite needing more than double this.

She currently has nobody to assist her in the evenings and is relying on kind-hearted neighbours.

On top of this she needs to use her community alarm — usually used in a home emergency —  simply to get help going to bed.

‘Totally unacceptable’

An Angus health campaigner has warned more needs to be done to support her and said the situation exposes the frailties of the care system.

Jill Scott said: “It is totally unacceptable that anyone should be left in the position that this lady finds herself in.

“The Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP) should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

“It is their responsibility to ensure that residents have a care package that fully meets their needs.

“It is blatantly obvious that two hours of care in this case is completely inadequate.

“Previous reassurance from HSCP has clearly fallen flat. This must be reviewed as a matter of urgency.”

Jill, who is the chair of Brechin & District Community Council, added: “It’s clear that they are struggling to find a private provider and obviously aren’t able to step in themselves to cover.

“This highlights the problem of relying upon private providers. “

Ms Smith says the situation is having an adverse effect on her mental health.

The artist and writer fears authorities might try to relocate her to a care centre, against the dying wishes of her beloved partner Bruce, who passed away last year.

Jackie with Bruce, who made it his mission to ensure she had all the equipment she needed to stay at home after he died.

Ms Smith said: “I’ve really struggled this week but I’m trying to remain positive. Nobody seems to be able to pick up my full care package of five hours.”

Angus Council, like many across Scotland, has cut funding for homecare services and staff in the last decade.

Three years ago private firm My Homecare collapsed, forcing local authorities in Perth & Kinross, Dundee, and Angus to step in at the last minute.

A spokesman for Angus Council said: “We will not discuss individual cases publicly but staff have been in contact and are working closely to put arrangements in place to ensure the individual is suitably supported and safe.”

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