Owen waiting eight months now for ramp

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A DISABLED man has become a prisoner in his own home after waiting almost a year for a ramp to be fitted to his bungalow.

Owen Turnbull, 81, of Holmcroft in Newbiggin, was left unable to walk after developing pressure sores on both heels during treatment at Ashington’s Wansbeck General Hospital following a fall in November last year.

Doris and Owen Turnbull from Newbiggin who is struggling to get a ramp fitted to their house.

Doris and Owen Turnbull from Newbiggin who is struggling to get a ramp fitted to their house.

The great-grandfather of five, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, has not been able to leave his home since returning from hospital in December as the front steps are too high for his wheelchair.

His wife Doris, 86, said she is disgusted that her husband has had to wait eight months for a ramp.

“My husband’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse with being trapped in four walls all day,” she said.

“It’s like being in a prison. I am disappointed. It’s disgraceful, especially at the age he is.

“He is not meeting people and it is not helping his Alzheimer’s. He just sits there day after day.

“It is nine months of his life absolutely wasted.

“There is a big change in him just by sitting in these four walls. I am tired as well. I cannot get out.”

A nurse visits Owen, a former pitman, four times a week to change his dressings while a carer visits five times a day.

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have been in correspondence with Mrs Turnbull in relation to her husband’s care and apologised for any distress caused.

“Prevention of pressure ulcers in hospital is one of our top safety priorities and all incidents are reported and fully investigated to ensure any lessons learned can be fed back to our relevant teams.

“We would like to reassure Mrs Turnbull that we have taken her concerns most seriously.”

After measurements were taken at the address in July, the couple were told would they would have to contribute £291 towards the £2,664 ramp after it was installed.

Doris, however, does not understand why it has taken so long, and she has even written to MP Ian Lavery and Prime Minister David Cameron about her husband’s plight.

A spokesperson for Northumberland County Council said: “We can confirm that the assessment and grant approvals were carried out in a timely manner.

“We can’t comment on individual circumstances but in general there are a number of steps that have to be taken to install disabled facilities such as this, including the involvement of the applicant and landlord, if applicable.”

Since enlisting the help of the News Post Leader, Owen and Doris have been promised that a ramp will be fitted on Monday.