Struggling couple forced to sell car to pay healthcare bills

AN ELDERLY couple from Nailsea have resorted to selling their possessions - including their car - in a desperate bid to fund vital healthcare because social services will no longer cover the cost.

Walter Harris, aged 77, and his wife Jean cannot afford to pay the �54.34 per week North Somerset Council’s now charges them after it refused to continue providing free care.

Walter, who recently spent six weeks in hospital and now has to use a catheter, must pay for home visits to carry out tasks he cannot do.

His daughter, Jackie Mogg, said she was disgusted by social services’ refusal to listen to their plight.

She said: “They are struggling now. They are having to sell all the items they possess to try to pay for treatment. That’s not fair.

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“I am concerned, not just for my dad, but for all those people who aren’t getting the care they need.

“The authorities say there isn’t the funding but it is found for other projects.”

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Walter went into hospital earlier this year after suffering gallstones and an abscess on his gall bladder. He also suffers from scars on his kidneys.

He was given free care for six weeks after leaving hospital, with nurses visiting him on a regular basis. Their tasks included changing Walter’s catheter before he went to bed.

The couple, who have lived in Ridgeway for more than 15 years, have no idea what the future holds.

Jean, who suffers from emphysema, said: “We have worked very hard all our lives and this is what we get.”

Jackie, who lives in Highbridge, undertakes a 50-mile round trip to bring them food, but with young children of her own cannot do it often enough to take full care of her father.

She said: “If I could look after him, I would.”

A council spokesman said the couple were jointly assessed and it aimed to be ‘fair and consistent’.

She said care staff would determine what care Walter needs and what support he can be given.

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