Disabled woman still awaits DHB reply

By Lee Scanlon of the Westport News

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A disabled Westport woman who has showered at Buller Hospital three times a week for a year while authorities processed her application for home modifications is still awaiting an explanation from the West Coast District Health Board.

Judy Aldridge, 71, a diabetic, lost a leg in March last year because of circulation problems.

The DHB classed her as a top priority case for home bathroom modifications, but took nearly five months to submit the home modification application to Enable NZ.

Enable, which manages Ministry of Health funding for housing modifications, then took another six months to sort out plans, choose a builder and gain building consent.

When The News contacted Enable last month, it admitted it had been too slow processing the application and apologised to the family.

The DHB declined to comment on its delay, but said it would contact Mrs Aldridge and investigate.

Mrs Aldridge's daughter, Shelley Jope, said her mother had heard nothing from the health board.

The DHB did not answer today when The Westport News asked why it had not contacted the family.

The bathroom modifications have finally started this week. Mrs Jope said Mrs Aldridge had tried to contact a DHB needs assessor, to ask for more home help while the alterations were being done. "They didn't even bother to ring back."

Builders had told Mrs Aldridge she would have to move out for up to five days. Mrs Aldridge had vowed to stay put, but Mrs Jope said her mother became ill last week and had no choice but to move in with her.

- The Westport News

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