Below is a copy of a letter sent by Llangollen resident Martin Crumpton to Wales' Health Minister Mark Drakeford about a looming cut to his benefits.
Dear Mr Drakeford,
Is this my punishment at having the temerity to complain about the dire state of hospital transport in North Wales? While I await the considered reply you personally promised me on Twitter, something else has occurred which I’d like to draw your attention to.
On December 24th 2012, just over a year ago, my GP and he Heart Failure Team at Wrexham Maelor Hospital told me I had six months left to live. Though happily still alive, I face an uncertain future and chronic cardiac failure combined with many other disorders, including an extremely rare genetic defect is a formidable obstacle. Since I cannot walk or even stand for more than a couple of minutes, I have the district nurse every two days to change the dressings on my ulcerated feet and need a two-man ambulance crew to get me and my wheelchair from home to ambulance and back when I make my fortnightly appointments with the diabetic ulcer podiatrist, the letter I received today from the DWP came as a surprise (attached).
It seems they regard me as capable of work and my benefits will be curtailed in just a few weeks’ time to below a level I can survive on. I’m already in fuel poverty and have had to choose between eating and heating. It seems I must attend interviews.
Of course, there’s an appeals procedure, but the stark reality is, as so many have discovered, the benefit cuts happen quickly but the appeals take six months or more to be heard. This leaves me in a most invidious position. I already have to sleep in a Red Cross hospital bed in my living room because I cannot climb stairs.to be with my wife – should I decamp entirely to a hospital ward and watch my wife suffer further as her Carer’s Allowance is stopped?
I am now quite relieved that the Ambulance Service’s “Putting Things Right Team” wanted to examine my medical history, despite wondering what possible relevance that has on the dreadful waits for Hospital Transport when no form of triage is conducted when booking them except to determine if I qualify for it.
Minister Drakeford, is it too much to ask for swift intervention from you before I’m forced into NHS care, separated from my beloved wife and back into clinical depression? (It’s in my medical notes, along with my deformed spine, diabetes, cardiac and degenerative mitochondrial myopathies, neurological memory disorder, fallen arches and muscle atrophy among others.) Perhaps you could find me some decent work from home for the Welsh Assembly Government, and I’m skilled with English and IT. I’d love to be independent from benefits and bureaucratic insensitivity.
With kind regards,