Carer couple angry over physiotherapy refusal

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Suzanne and  Malcolm Morrison with son John at their Market Lavington home                           By Paul Morris Suzanne and Malcolm Morrison with son John at their Market Lavington home By Paul Morris

The family of severely disabled Market Lavington man John Morrison were shocked to be told that they would have to carry out physio on him themselves as the NHS does not commission long-term physiotherapy.

Mr Morrison, 30, has quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy. He has been disabled since birth when a lack of oxygen caused brain damage. He received compensation from the NHS.

Mr Morrison received physio on the NHS from the age of two until 2011. In 2011 he and his family were living in South Wales where there was a change in health policy.

John’s father, Malcolm, and stepmother, Suzanne, started paying privately for him to have two physio sessions a week. This has continued and John currently has physiotherapy in Shepton Mallet costing about £550 a month.

The family moved to Market Lavington in October 2012 and John was assessed by a physiotherapist in the local NHS Neighbourhood Team soon after, who said that community physio would not meet his needs as he needed specialist equipment.

Mrs Morrison complained to her MP Claire Perry about John not receiving physiotherapy on the NHS. In a letter of reply Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s chief officer, Deborah Fielding, said the CCG commissions the Great Western Hospital, Swindon, to provide community physiotherapy but not long-term physiotherapy.

She says the community physiotherapy service provides between six to eight sessions, adding: “In the case of a patient with complex physical health needs the physiotherapist will teach carers what they need to in terms of stretches and exercises. It would then be for the carer to provide the maintenance programme.”

Mr and Mrs Morrison, John’s carers, say they are not capable of carrying out physiotherapy on John. Mrs Morrison said: “I had a serious accident in 2009 and I have neuropathic pain and can lose my balance. My husband has a bad back.

“I thought it was a joke when they said for me and Malcolm to do the physiotherapy on John. If we got it wrong we could hurt him badly, we could break his hip or thigh bone.

“John’s health needs are beyond what we are comfortable in dealing with and the NHS should not just be dumping him on us.

“If John didn’t have physiotherapy he would contract up into a ball. He wouldn’t be able to drive his wheelchair. He is fully mentally competent and is full of life.”

In a statement Wiltshire CCG said : “Allowances such as the Disability Allowance or Personal Care budgets are paid to allow patients to purchase additional support equipment or services in addition to what is supplied by the NHS. If carers or a patient believe their condition has deteriorated they can go for a further review.”

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