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Forces association accuses authorities of failing decorated former Royal Marine

A FORCES association has accused authorities of failing a decorated former Royal Marine after he had a leg amputated due to diabetes.

Six months since he was allowed home after the operation, Dennis Ward, 72, is still relying on strip washes and using a commode in his living room, where he also has to sleep, while a wait goes on for an assessment of his needs.

Mr Ward, of Harbour Road, Wibsey, saw active service in Borneo, Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak during his ten years’ service before become a firefighter in Bradford for a further decade.

His case has now been taken up by the Veterans Association UK (VAUK) after it was contacted by Mr Ward’s wife Val, also 72, about how they could get a stairlift so her husband could use the bathroom and sleep in his bedroom.

Tony Hayes, VAUK’s CEO, said: “I was amazed at the neglect. I told Mrs Ward they were entitled to help from Social Services which she wasn’t aware of.

“I also told them they should also be able to get a walk-in shower fitted.”

He added: “I have been absolutely disgusted in the way Mr Ward has been treated after serving Queen and Country.

“There is Government funding for this sort of work.

“It seems to me that because Mr and Mrs Ward own their own home, Social Services are hoping they will eventually get fed up and pay for the work themselves, which is out of order.

“It’s about time Bradford Council got a grip.”

Mr Ward has been attending Bradford Royal Infirmary twice weekly for physiotherapy to get him used to a prosthetic leg but is not able to use it at home because he has been told he is not steady enough.

The hospital said it had referred his case to Social Services at the beginning of his care.

But Mrs Ward said no assessment of their needs had yet been done.

On a visit by occupational therapy they were given a commode, urine bottles and a handle for a hospital bed they did not have until a district nurse organised one.

Mrs Ward said: “I’ve been ringing Social Services every three weeks or so because I just wanted to know what to do.

“I was willing to take out a loan for a stairlift but I didn’t know what was needed or how much to apply for.”

Mr Ward added: “We didn’t ask for help because we didn’t know there was any.

“It sounds awful, but just to use a proper toilet would be wonderful.

“It is degrading having to use a commode in the living room and having to have strip washes. I’ve not had a bath or a shower for six months.”

Mr Hayes has approached Bradford South MP Judith Cummins to inform her of Mr Ward’s situation.

Mrs Cummins said: “It is completely unacceptable that Mr Ward has found himself in this position and in these deeply upsetting circumstances.

“I am pressing the Council for answers and for action so Mr Ward can start to get the care and assistance he clearly needs.”

Wibsey ward councillors have also pledged to try to help.

Councillor Ralph Berry (Lab) said Mr Ward’s plight needed urgent attention.

Councillor Joanne Sharp (Lab) added: “It’s not great to hear a veteran who has contributed much to his country has been left in circumstances like this.

“If Mr Ward contacts us we hope we will be able to help resolve this on his behalf.”

A Bradford Council spokesman said: “We are working with the hospital and Bradford District Care Trust to get (Mr Ward) the help he needs as quickly as possible.”

The care trust’s district nursing team told the Telegraph & Argus it was now working with Bradford Council and Bradford Teaching Hospitals as part of a newly-established multi-agency discharge team, to ensure that the right support is in place for people with complex needs before they are discharged.

“While we cannot comment on individual cases in line with patient confidentiality, in this instance the nurse, who is caring for the individual’s health needs, is working with the individual and other agencies to ensure they get the right support.”

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