Blind Woman Had To Sleep on Floor Due To Council Errors

She was sent a blow-up mattress when promised bed wasn't delivered

An inflatable bed. Picture: Pierrelagrange

A blind woman said she was forced to sleep on the floor when she moved home due to council failures.

The Hammersmith and Fulham resident was given a blow-up mattress to sleep on when she moved home as her bed had not arrived in time, according to an Ombudsman report.

But the woman referred to only as Miss X, said she was left stuck on the floor, unable to blow up the mattress and without food on moving day.

Miss X had got in touch with her council in July 2021 to say she was moving homes in six weeks.

Due to issues with her new home, her moving date was pushed back to 24 September and Hammersmith and Fulham Council agreed to help her to buy a bed, book removals and sort her housing benefits in the week before she moved.

Miss X also asked the council to provide her with Meals on Wheels and on 21 September the council arranged for her to be delivered meals.

But due to an error with the Meals on Wheels provider, her meals were delivered to her old address the day she moved and she was left without food.

The bed Miss X had ordered was not due for two weeks so the council provided her with a blow-up mattress.

On 7 October, Miss X explained she still had not been able to blow up the bed and her appliances were still not connected in the flat.

She also told the Ombudsman the council had not installed grab rails around the property and she was unable to get around her new home.

The council tried to review Miss X’s property on 7 October, but she had fallen ill. It took another five months before the council finally carried out the review.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council told the Ombudsman it was willing to pay Miss X £400 for any distress caused by the delay to sort a formal review, for not being more proactive, and for not helping with connecting her appliances.

The Ombudsman report said, “The delay in completing the review for Miss X would have caused her considerable uncertainty. This is injustice.

“Miss X had already expressed concerns about the support she was receiving to the Council and explained she worried about being in the new property.

“The Council ought to have been aware of this and ensured the review took place on time to satisfy itself Miss X was receiving the right support.”

A Hammersmith and Fulham Council spokesperson said, “We’ve apologised to Miss X and have compensated her for the inconvenience and distress.

“We seek to be a compassionate council – we’re the only council in the country to abolish home care charges and we’ve just put an extra £5 million into social care. We accept we’ve fallen short here.

“We reiterate our apology and have strengthened our systems to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Jacob Phillips - Local Democracy Reporter

June 27, 2022