Bucks Council apologises after error means disabled man with parkinsonism lost health care support

His cancer-suffering wife believes this issue worsened her health condition.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 1:12 pm

Bucks Council has apologised after an unknown system error meant a disabled man with parkinsonism was unable to get healthcare for three weeks.

The man's lack of mobility means he needs someone to provide him with physical support every morning and afternoon. His recent parkinsonism diagnosis has made getting him regular support more vital than ever, his wife says.

His wife spent weeks chasing health care services to try and discover why the direct debit used to make payments was suddenly blocked.

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Bucks Council apologised to this family

Susan Longden, who has cancer, herself believes the stress of being unable to get healthcare for her husband caused her health to diminish during this period.

Angela Macpherson, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for health and wellbeing, provided the following update to the Bucks Herald. She said: “We would like to offer our sincere apologies to Mrs Longden and her husband for the undue stress and worry this has caused them. The issue has now been resolved, with the card unlocked and the direct payments owed to Mrs Longden for her husband’s care, backdated to 21 May.

“The matter was investigated as soon it was reported and staff have worked hard to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and reinstate the payments. We are currently investigating our systems to find out how such an error occurred in the first place and will explore ways to ensure that it does not happen again, for any of our clients.”

Mrs Longden confirmed to the Bucks Herald that the money has been reinstated as of today (July 27).

It was July 12 when Mrs Longden discovered an issue paying for the healthcare which is due every four weeks. That day, Mrs Longden contacted the direct payments team who ensured her that her account would be unlocked that day.

Mrs Longden described dealing with council and social care workers as being similar to being in the middle of a tennis match. Given the way she was knocked around from one staff member to another without anyone taking accountability for the mistake.

Now, the payment has been made, regular health care support can continue for this family, but last weekend Mrs Longden was unable to pay the carer and her husband had to spend the weekend in bed, as no-one could support him.

Mrs Longden believes she has just endured the three most stressful weeks of her life.