An 85-year-old former nurse has been forced to wear nappies and be ‘bathed’ in a washing up bowl for four years because health bosses refuse to build her a bathroom.
Bedridden Marjorie Rose lives in the dining room of her daughter June’s home in Bletchley.
There is no downstairs bathroom in the house and, even with lifts and hoists, it is impossible to get Marjorie upstairs, said June, who was also a nurse.
The 64-year-old said: “My mother worked all her life for the NHS. She didn’t retire until she was in her 70s. All we want is for to have her dignity and have a proper toilet and shower that we can access with a wheelchair.”
June’s requests for a £20,000 bathroom extension have been backed by her mum’s GP. But they have been refused by the Central and North West London NHS Foundation trust, which runs MK’s occupational therapy services.
“They say they don’t have the money. But I am saving them a fortune by keeping my mother at home and not putting her in a nursing home, which she would hate,” she said.
Currently June copes, with the help of carers, by carrying warm water in a washing-up bowl from the ktichen to wash her mother.
She has a commode but it is difficult to manouvre her mother on to it because the room is so cramped, she said.
The council’s Cabinet member for health and wellbeing has described the NHS Trust’s decision as “absolutely bonkers”.
Councillor Nigel Long said: “I visited Mrs Rose and was shocked that an elderly woman could live for years without access to a downstairs bathroom.”
He has urged the trust to think again, on the basis that MK council puts £1.3m into its aids and adaptation budget each year to encourage more elderly people to stay at home.
Central North West London HHS Trust insists it has followed “ nationally set criteria” for community OT services in the case of Mrs Rose.
A spokesman said “This is a finite sum of money and the criteria – as laid down in the Disabilities Facilities Grant and Care Act – is quite specific. We work very closely with Milton Keynes Council in implementing these guidelines for all patients.
“Where eligibility is met then decisions about funding are not taken by any one individual or agency – these decisions are made by a panel of professionals representing Milton Keynes Council, CNWL and the CCG.”
The spokesman said the Community Occupational Therapy Service was “highly rated” and valued, and it was committed to achieving the best outcomes for patients.