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Disabled woman tells of care cuts anguish
A BLIND pensioner desperate for food claims she has gone out to beg passing strangers to cook for her and has even mistakenly eaten cat food from her fridge.
Former nurse Jan Milne, who is also diabetic, said two daily visits by carers - including one to prepare her tea time meal - has been withdrawn by social services, resulting in hypoglycaemic attacks due to dipping sugar levels.
However, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, refutes the 71-year-old's claims, insisting her level of support was reviewed jointly with Mrs Milne and is considered “appropriate”.
Carers call at her home in Dormanstown, near Redcar, to provide her with breakfast at 8am then lunch at noon and a meal at 8.30pm.
Their previous visits at 3pm and 5pm have now been withdrawn.
“Once I was so desperate to eat I took a spoonful of food from a tin in the fridge and then vomited as it was cat food," she said.
“I have got lots of food in but I just cannot see it. I have even been out onto the street and begged people to come inside and cook something but they just walk away.
“I feel like death warmed up. Because I am diabetic I am meant to eat every three and a half hours but from noon I am not getting anything until 8.30pm so I’m feeling ill and I have hunger pains.
“When I have a hypo attack there is no warning and I pass out. Sometimes I worry that I am not going to wake up. I am not suicidal but it is frightening.”
Mrs Milne, whose vision is so restricted she can only make out 'shadows', was widowed in March and is still mourning the loss of husband, Bill, known as ‘Ginger Billy’- a former winchman at the Teesmouth lifeboat station.
“Social Services say I don’t need any more visits but I know I do. My husband was a lovely man, and he looked after me.”
Sheelagh Clarke, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Wellbeing at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “The level of support provided to individuals is based on an assessment of their needs.
"This assessment takes into account information provided to us by the individual and by any other professionals involved in the person's care, for example the GP.
"In this particular case the support was recently reviewed jointly with health partners and the individual concerned.
"The revised support arrangements were considered by all to be an appropriate way of meeting the individual's needs, including the individual herself.
"The reduction in support has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with any cuts in services.”
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