Carers’ move fears for paralysed Linda

Linda Cottingham and her husband, Barry.
Linda Cottingham and her husband, Barry.
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A PARALYSED Sheffield woman has been left confused and upset by changes to council care support supposed to make her life easier.

Linda Cottingham has received help from the council’s in-house Care4You team for 25 years.

She requires assistance because she is paralysed from the waist down.

Linda is now being given her own budget and allowed to shop around for her care – but she is not allowed to choose her current carers.

The council said they are being used for cases where people are incapable of choosing their own care or where their needs are too specialist for there to be an alternative provider.

Linda has appealed against the decision to the Local Government Ombudsman watchdog, but without success.

The 54-year-old, who lives at Cowley Gardens, Westfield, has a carer from Sheffield Council’s Care4You service five days a week, to help her get up and get dressed after husband Barry, 54, has gone to work.

Linda said: “There’s that many places offering care out there that I’m not sure what standard I am going to get. I want to stay as I am, with the carers I know.”

Barry, an electro-silver plater, said: “We’ve been told that Linda does not qualify for Care4You’s support because she does not have complex needs – but how can her needs be more complex? She’s 75 per cent disabled.”

But Sheffield Council said the couple have misunderstood their reasons for wanting to change her provider.

The authority wants to encourage all care service users – including Linda – to have a personalised budget meaning they can shop around for care rather than receive the council service.

Only the most severely problematic cases, where alternative providers are unavailable or who are incapable of organising alternative care, will continue to receive Care4You’s service.

Eddie Sherwood, Sheffield Council’s director of care and support, said: “The independent Ombudsman agrees with our own findings in this case that all processes have been followed correctly.

“What we do provide now for people receiving adult social care is their own personal budget to spend on the support they need, from the provider, or providers, which are right for them. This means people can choose their own care package, with the full support and help of their social worker.”