Disabled woman questions the need for further assessment by OT

HE ‘throwing money down the drain’ over shower

By Gemma Burns

A disabled North Belfast woman with no washing facilities in her flat since she moved in eight weeks ago said the Housing Executive is “throwing money down the drain” by having her assessed by an Occupational Therapist. Housing campaigner Angie McManus moved into her Carlisle Parade flat two months ago after being rehoused from her home in the New Lodge Seven Towers.

In her former Meabh House home she had a special shower installed because she suffers from arthritis of the spine and fibro myalgia which means she can only stand for a short period of time.

After a lengthy campaign to be rehoused out of the tower block she moved into her new flat in mid January to discover there is only a bath and that work is not due to start on installing a shower until April 17 after an assessment from an Occupational Therapist, which means Angie will have been without anywhere to wash for 18 weeks.

The former chair of the Seven Towers Residents’ Group said it has been a waste of both time and money having her reassessed by an OT when she already had a specially adapted shower in her former flat after an initial OT assessment.

“It really doesn’t make any sense to me I had the shower installed in my former home because of my condition,” she said.

“My condition has not improved since then, indeed it has gotten much worse. So I can’t see why, when I was assessed for my old flat, I would need assessed again?

“It is just a waste of NHS money having an Occupational Therapist come out to me and a waste of time in getting the shower installed.”

Angie said she has to rely on friends and neighbours to use their showers while she waits for the work to start on her home.

“I am relying on the kindness of neighbours and friends who will allow me to use their shower, but you are still imposing on people.

“I can’t get into the bath and I can’t really use the sink because I can’t stand for any length of time. It is very difficult.”

A spokesman for the Housing Executive said: “In order to carry out the installation of a new shower we require a recommendation from the Belfast Trust’s Occupational Therapy Service based on the tenant’s particular needs,” he said,

“On receipt of this recommendation on 13 February we immediately issued an order to our contractor to complete the required works to this flat.

“Although we initially advised Ms McManus that the works were due to be completed by 11 April 2012, the contractor has indicated that he will commence the shower installation during the week commencing Monday 12 March. “


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