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Man paralysed from neck down ‘not eligible’ for night-time care

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A quadriplegic man was told his care funding would be revoked, after NHS officials deemed him not disabled enough to qualify for support.

Simon Shaw, 54, has received 24-hour care since he was left paralysed from the neck down after a car accident in 1984.

He relies on carers at night to help him with everything from turning in bed to having a drink of water. They also intervene with medical aid if he develops life-threatening complications related to his paralysis, which could happen at any time, without warning.

But a recent NHS assessment controversially ruled Shaw’s health needs were not severe enough to warrant full-time medical care. Local health authority officials told him he did not meet eligibility criteria and his NHS funding would be stopped from 20 June.

Shaw, from Clapham, south London, said that meant there was no money for his night-time care and he would be left unsupported from 8pm to 8am for the first time in nearly four decades.

“It’s frightening, to be honest,” Shaw said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do when they take my care away.

“I don’t cease to exist after 8pm. I still need to get into bed, have a drink of water and use the toilet – and I can’t do any of it on my own.

“There are a lot of things that can go wrong with my health and when they do, they usually need urgent attention. If there’s no one there, to be frank… it could mean death.”

Mandy Jamieson, a caseworker for the Spinal Injuries Association, said: “We have noticed an increase in patients with severe disabilities being turned down for funding in recent years, particularly since the introduction of assessments via video call since the pandemic.

“But I feel particularly in Simon’s case the decision that has been made is wrong. He has so many health needs that I find it incredible that they turned him down.”

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Source: The Guardian, 19 June 2022

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