Brian Smart slammed Bristol City Council and says the authority is guilty of neglect because the waiting list for showers and wet rooms is so long
FROM THE MIRROR-
A man who has been left unable to properly wash himself for almost a year has slammed his council and claims it is guilty of neglect.
Brian Smart is on anti-depressants to help him cope with the situation.
His daughters have had to become his carers since last August.
Mr Smart had been increasing issues with his mobility and fell off the toilet before his doctor wrote to Bristol City Council chiefs demanding he have properly accessible bathroom facilities at his council flat.
But the cash-strapped authority has a huge waiting list of people – with 800 applications lodged for better accessible bathroom facilities every single year, Bristol Live reports.
Mr Smart, 68, was told the work would happen within six weeks, but nine months later, he is still waiting.
He says he is now having to wash himself with wet wipes and flannels, and said it is degrading.
“I manage to strip wash, but I struggle with it,” the pensioner said.
“I can’t get my arm behind my back, and there’s always bits you can’t manage.
“My arm and body goes into spasms if I try it, it’s bloody stupid.”
The situation is making Mr Smart increasingly depressed.
He said: “I was fit and healthy a few years ago. I was a plasterer my whole life, and then have gradually been getting worse with my back and neck.
“I take 160 tablets a week. If I was a dirty person, I wouldn’t care, but I’m not. I like to be clean, I keep a clean and tidy home, and this is just badly affecting me,” he added.
Faced with growing frustration, about six weeks ago, Mr Smart ran a bath, managed to get in, but fell and knocked himself out getting out.
“I’d had enough,” he said. “I just wanted a bath so much. After, I let the water out and tried to get out, but I couldn’t get over the side and pitched over and smacked my head against the wall.
“There’s not much room in there, and there’s not much to hold on to. I was there for God knows how long on the floor. It’s definitely neglect,” he added.
“It’s not like I’m asking for a £20,000 project, just a shower instead of a bath, or a wet room instead of two rooms,” he added.
“If I had the money I’d do it myself, but I only wish I did have the money.”
A council spokesman admitted the waiting list was too long: “We sincerely regret the impact this situation has on the well-being of Mr Smart and we are doing all that we can to rectify this situation.
“Each year we handle 800 cases to upgrade and refurbish such facilities and we are working with our contractors to help reduce the amount of time that people have to wait.
“In this case, we hope to be able to move forward with the allocation of a contractor to the project as an urgent priority.”