A Glusburn man has hit out at North Yorkshire County Council after a broken stairlift left his disabled wife stranded upstairs for three hours (From Keighley News)
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A Glusburn man has hit out at North Yorkshire County Council after a broken stairlift left his disabled wife stranded upstairs for three hours
11:20am Sunday 22nd September 2013 in Keighley
A Glusburn man has hit out at North Yorkshire County Council after a broken stairlift left his disabled wife stranded upstairs for three hours.
Nigel and Karen Goodwin, of Old Hall Road, were upset after Mrs Goodwin, who has multiple sclerosis and cannot manage stairs, got stuck upstairs in her house with no way of getting down to the ground floor.
Mrs Goodwin, 53, has had MS since 1996 and has been using a stairlift to get up and down stairs for the past three years.
But when a toggle switch used to operate the equipment broke, the machine no longer worked with any regularity.
“She was stuck upstairs for three hours, so she was panicking,” said 57-year-old Mr Goodwin, who is his wife’s full-time carer.
“What if there was a fire? How the hell do I get her down? I would have had to sling her over my back and carry her down. But that’s not the point.”
When Mr Goodwin rang Express Elevators, which works with North Yorkshire County Council on stairlift repairs, an engineer told him the warranty had run out.
“We’ve rung the county council, and after being passed around from pillar to post, someone told us that it’s the owner’s responsibility to take over the warranty and servicing after three years,” he said.
“We weren’t informed about this and nobody seems to be bothered. I ended up having to ring up a company in Newcastle to order a new toggle switch.”
Mr Goodwin has been using disabled equipment provided through the county council since 2006 and had the stairlift fitted in 2010.
Mrs Goodwin said: “I’m disgusted with the council. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I wasn’t informed at the time I paid for it. There was no paperwork or letter. Why didn’t they tell me?
“I recently had a bath lift fitted, so in three years if it breaks down, are we going to be in the same position?
“This needs highlighting because I’d feel so sorry if this had happened to an older person.”
“To me, it’s putting lives at risk,” added Mr Goodwin.
A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said: “The stairlift was put in on a North Yorkshire County Council disabled facilities grant and the customer received a letter from the county council’s health and adult services advising that once the warranty expired, the responsibility of maintenance and insurance would fall to the customer.
“In cases such as this, people who feel they are unable to fund maintenance and insurance costs can request a further financial assessment.”
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