Disabled couple made to pay for laundry service

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AN ELDERLY couple with severe ill health who benefited from a council laundry service have been deemed no longer eligible - after being told they have only low or moderate need.

Grandparents Douglas and Doreen Dell, of Staniforth Avenue, Eckington, were paying £1.20 a week for 10 items of bedding to be washed by a launderette - a service part-subsidised by Derbyshire Council. But the authority recently reviewed people receiving the service and has decided the couple meet only a ‘low or moderate’ category for care services so do not qualify for help with laundry costs.

Retired electrician Mr Dell, aged 81, who used to work for Sheffield Council’s markets department, is diabetic and has a pacemaker. He said: “Until recently we were provided with a laundry service. It was initially paid for by Derbyshire County Council, then we were asked to make a partial contribution.

“We have received a letter saying we can only continue the service if we pay for it all ourselves, which will cost £6 a week. My wife is 80 and has muscular degeneration getting progressively worse; she is now blind in one eye and has poor sight in the other. She has had both knees replaced, is in constant pain, unable to walk far or do much.

“I am diabetic, have an irregular heartbeat, a pacemaker, regular attacks of migraine and headaches, pain in my knees, toes, feet, hands, wrists and back. We are both registered disabled.”

Derbyshire County Council insisted it is having to prioritise for people in greatest need.

A letter sent to Mr and Mrs Dell said: “Following your recent review your answers indicated that your current level of need is in the low or moderate category banding of the eligibility criteria.

“Derbyshire County Council does not currently provide services within this banding, hence you are no longer eligible to continue to receive the laundry service.

“As you can appreciate we have a very high demand for our services and have to ensure that these are provided to those in greatest need.”