Ramsey mother's outrage at two-year OT wait for autistic daughter

Last week the Hunts Post revealed that disabled people are waiting so long for OT assessment that the Huntingdon Freemen s Charity had in a handful of cases stepped in to pay for it. Letters came flooding. A woman in her 80s says she has been waiting sinc

Last week the Hunts Post revealed that disabled people are waiting so long for OT assessment that the Huntingdon Freemen's Charity had in a handful of cases stepped in to pay for it. Letters came flooding. A woman in her 80s says she has been waiting since April. A mother of a seven-year-old has been waiting two years. Here are our readers' stories.

A MOTHER has spoken of her outrage after her autistic daughter has been waiting two years for an OT assessment.

Sharon Carr says a request for an Occupational Therapist (OT) was first lodged in 2007 when she moved to West Avenue, Ramsey.

The home needed adaptations for seven-year-old Ashleigh who has cerebral palsy, development delay and autism.


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Miss Carr says Ashleigh needs a downstairs bedroom as she cannot safely make her own way upstairs and she is getting too heavy to be carried.

"It is not just her safety. It is the safety of the whole family, because of Ashleigh's autism, she would not think twice about pushing her little brother, Euan, down the stairs. Also she often throws her weight and struggles when I try to carry her upstairs and this has resulted in us falling down them."

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Miss Carr says Ashleigh's school, Spring Common in Huntingdon, first requested an OT assessment for her in 2007. In the summer of 2008 Miss Carr was told Ashleigh was a priority but this year they have said she is in 57th place.

Miss Carr has begun to adapting her home at her own expense, fitting ramps, handrails and locks and chains on all the doors.

She said: "It makes me so angry. I realise they may be short staffed or have a lack of money or resources but this really needs addressing. The people on the list are on there for a reason and they cannot go anyway else for this help."

John Peberdy of Cambridgeshire Community Services, who manage the OT service, apologised for the wait Ashleigh and her family have been experiencing.

Mr Peberdy said: "We appreciate the impact this is having on the family and are working hard to resolve the situation."

Huntingdon Freemen's Charity have criticised the NHS for making sick and disabled people wait at least 36 weeks for an OT assessment.

The charity said it had been monitoring the situation for more than two years and saw waiting times peak at 82 weeks in May 2007.

Cambridgeshire Community Services (CCS) have said they will be recruiting more staff to reduce waiting times.

They said urgent (priority one cases) are assessed within one to three days, priority two in 12 weeks and priority three in 36 weeks.

They blame a 'significantly higher than expected' number of referrals for the increased waiting times for OT assessments.

CCS have said they are planning to undertake a review to reduce waiting times to 18 weeks - in line with the national standard by April 2010.

Readers' waiting time experiences:

A WOMAN in her 80s from Warboys says she has been waiting since April for an assessment. She has trouble getting into a bath because of a hip and knee replacement, and is requesting a shower in her bungalow. At present she is washing in the kitchen, which she says is "very inconvenient and embarrassing".

A MAN with Motor Neurone Disease was told he would have to wait six months for an OT assessment but after persisting was seen within six weeks. He made a request for another OT assessment for a level wet room and was told an assessment could take six-nine months.

The man and his wife decided not to wait and went ahead with the work.

Their OT ordered a shower chair in November 2006 and it was delivered in August 2007.

A DISABLED woman in her 70s and her disabled son from Warboys, who are cared for by the husband and father in the family, were told in 2008 they faced a nine to 12 month wait for an OT assessment for adaptations to their home. They are still waiting to be seen.

A WOMAN, 34, from St Ives was seen two months ago by an OT after being on the waiting list since June 2008. She has spinal arthritis and a prolapsed disc in her back. While she waited for an OT assessment for a shower she had to wash in the kitchen sink as she is unable to bend down.

AN 88-year-old woman, who is deaf and lives in her own home, is currently waiting for an OT assessment for a shower. She cannot get into the bath as she is too weak and keeps bruising her legs. She recently collapsed and was taken to hospital. Her daughter rang social services and a week later a letter arrived saying she would be assessed in about 12 weeks time.

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