Grangemouth wheelchair user: ‘I need to get out of this flat right now’

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A one-legged council tenant has been waiting in vain for over seven months for a vital move to a premises with disability adaptations.

Ross Mitchell (28) had been living in his ground floor flat in Craigleith Road, Grangemouth quite happily for two years, but his situation took a dramatic turn for the worse in May last year when he had to have his right leg amputated after he contracted sepsis from gangrene in his toe.

Ross said: “I was in hospital for three weeks. I was awarded band one functional needs priority status by the council on May 25, but that was seven months ago and I’m still here.

“The toilet – a bath I struggle to get into – is up on the second floor. I’m stuck in this wheelchair just now because of the swelling in my stump so I cannot put on my prosthetic to get upstairs.”

When his partner was with him Ross was able, with her assistance, to get over the step at the front door of his flat to get outside. Unfortunately the couple have now split up and for the last four weeks Ross has effectively become a prisoner in his own flat.

“I’ve been struggling for months in this place and the council just tell me there are people who have been on the priority list longer than I have.”

Now unemployed following his amputation, Ross has had to use what money he has to buy hand rails to make some vital alterations to his flat himself because the council stated the property was not suitable for disabled adaptations.

Ross has also been looking for premises with Link and Paragon housing associations, but he requires proof of his functional needs priority status Falkirk Council awarded him on May 25 following an assessment carried out by an occupational therapist.

So far the council has not provided a copy of that assessment which he can show to the housing associations.

Ross wants to stay in the Grangemouth area where his family and friends can offer him the support he needs and has been bidding for adapted properties which become available in that area.

However, the council advised him to look further afield and he has now also put bids in on properties in the high flats near Callendar Park in Falkirk.

A Falkirk Council spokesman said: “We fully sympathise with Mr Mitchell’s situation and stress we are doing everything we can to assist him. Unfortunately, due to the lack of adapted properties in his specified area, we do not have anything currently available.

“We will continue to support Mr Mitchell and suggest that he bids on a larger number of suitable properties in other areas so he may be more successful.”

People can apply to Falkirk Council for a functional needs assessment if they have applied for housing with the council and live in a house that causes problems because they have a disability, or have difficulty getting around or doing everyday activities in the property.

A housing visitor will assess the premises and consider all the circumstances and discuss housing options with the tenant, before making a decision on the level of priority.

According to the council the aim of the assessment is to help people move to a home that meets their needs now and in the future.