Ellie Ames 15 November 2023

Council failure left ambulance unable to reach resident

Council failure left ambulance unable to reach resident image
Image: Nigel J. Harris / Shutterstock.com

Stevenage Borough Council’s failure to fix a disabled resident’s door entry system left the ambulance service unable to attend to him, a watchdog has found.

The Housing Ombudsman said the fault meant the fire brigade had to accompany the ambulance on several occasions to gain access to the flat.

The resident was left feeling as if ‘his life did not matter’.

The ombudsman found severe maladministration in the local authority’s response after the resident reported the impact the problem was having on him several times over 18 months.

It found no indication that the local authority considered its obligations under the Equality Act 2010, with no referrals from officers as part of its Aids and Adaptations policy.

Housing ombudsman Richard Blakeway said: ‘While the formal complaints procedure did result in the outstanding repair being made, the landlord failed to recognise the impact and anxiety caused to the resident and did not offer an apology.’

The council was ordered to apologise, review its handling of the situation and set out an action plan. The resident was awarded £1,250 in compensation.

A Stevenage council spokesperson said: ‘Sadly, on this occasion, it would appear that this resident hasn’t received an adequate service, for which we sincerely apologise.’

The council said it had improved its process for handling housing complaints and introduced a team of ‘strategic complaint managers’.

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