• Sun. Apr 2nd, 2023

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I’m a wheelchair user – I’m trapped in my home after council refused to help…I’ve not seen my friends in years – The Sun

Mar 18, 2023
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A dad has been left trapped in his own home and claims the council have refused to build a ramp from his front door to the pavement.

Alexander French, 54, lives in a tenement in Edinburgh with a steep step between the flat door and the ground outside.

Alexander from Edinburgh is stuck inside after being left without a rampCredit: Media Scotland

He started using an electric wheelchair after Fibromyalgia left him unable to walk.

The dad feels like ‘a prisoner’ in his home as he can’t get out of the building without help from his wife or son, Edinburgh Live reports.

Without the cash to pay for a ramp himself, Alex has been left trapped inside and unable to socialise with friends or exercise.

He has even fallen out of his chair twice trying to navigate kerbs in his neighbourhood.

He said: “I am a wheelchair user and I live in a ground-floor flat in north Edinburgh.

“I recently contacted the city council to request a wheelchair ramp and I was told I needed to have a wheelchair issued by the NHS but I use an electric wheelchair as I do not have the strength to push a manual chair.

“I received an NHS chair a few weeks ago and I contacted the city council again and was told I was given the wrong information and I’m not entitled to a ramp to be installed as I own my house.

“I’m not in a position to pay for a ramp and as a result, I can’t leave the house unless my son or wife is home however they both work during the day and can’t help.”

He added: “We have owned our house for 20 years but all the rest of the flats are owned by the council and it’s a main stair door.

“I have fibromyalgia and diabetes which cause complications. I have an electric wheelchair because I don’t have the strength in my upper arms for a manual chair.

“I have been using the wheelchair for years, my son used to be here all the time and built me a ramp so I could get out of the house on my own but it’s not there anymore.

“My son is 29 years old now and he is out all the time, he needs his own life it’s not fair for me to rely on him to get out of the house.

“I used to go to different groups through the week to meet up with people and socialise but I can’t now. The lack of dropped kerbs in the area means often I have to use the road and my wheelchair is not roadworthy.

“I have fallen out of my wheelchair twice once trying to get up onto a kerb and another time because wheelie bins were in the way and I had to try and go around them.

“I am stuck in my house from Monday to Thursday because my son is out volunteering now and my wife works. My best friend just lives down the road and he is a wheelchair user too but I haven’t seen him in years because I can’t get out of the house.

“This has been my life for years now.”

The situation is taking a drastic toll on his mental health, as well as preventing him from going to medical appointments on his own.

A spokesperson from the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership told Edinburgh Live: “We can provide assurance that in cases where our Occupational Therapy services are in place, assessment decisions will always aim to ensure the right level of support and rehabilitation, whilst maximising individual independence as much as possible based on personal capability and circumstances.

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“In addition, we work with individuals to help link them to wider community services and groups that can further enable and support overall wellbeing.”

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