Overcrowding puts disabled girl in danger

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Professional carers say the welfare of a seriously disabled child is in jeopardy – because her family’s council home is too small.

Ten-year-old Abigail Knight requires a complex and bulky array of medical equipment to keep her alive.

She needs ventilators to keep her breathing, hoists to move her and machines to feed her.

The equipment takes up so much room in the family’s Beanhill bungalow that Abigail’s care team is unable to move around properly.

Yet dad Phillip Knight’s pleas to the council for a larger home have fallen upon deaf ears, he says.

His wife Donna has the same condition as their daughter – Myotonic Dystrophy – but to a lesser extent.

The couple, who have a younger daughter, receive specialist care for Abigail for five hours daily plus six overnight sessions a week.

He told the Citizen: “Two care companies have withdraw their services on health and safety grounds because the place is so full of medical equipment that they can’t reach Abigail properly. We can’t even navigate her wheelchair around the house.

“Our current care company, ICCM, has written to the council saying things have reached crisis point and we need more room.”

Mr Knight, who is a full time carer for his wife, says a privately rented larger bungalow would cost £375 a week. But his housing benefit is capped at £175.

A council spokesman sympathised with the family’s plight but said larger properties were in short supply. “We are continuing to work closely with them,” he said.