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Sunday 27th May 2018

Disabled have no right to choose their carers

24th March 2009

The High Court has rejected the case of two disabled people who wanted the health service to give them grants which would let them lead independent lives by hiring their own carers.


The ruling means that people with disabilities are not legally able to select their own carers. Strong opposition to regulations which take away the  "dignity and autonomy" of disabled people has been voiced.

Steven Harrison, a paralysed former soldier and Valerie Garnham, 60, who suffers from a muscular disease were informed in October 2008 that the health service trusts which funded their home carers would stop due to an announcement by the Department of Health.

The High Court's decision met with strong criticism from disabled rights groups, who said that laws which would allow payments to be made were already being considered by the government.

It is thought that 150,000 disabled people in Britain are given funding which enables them to employ carers who they have selected. If a disabled person's health requires them to receive "continuing care" at home, then they cannot choose their own carer and have to use the care provided for them by their local health trust.

As a result people like Mrs Garnham will be forced to get rid of staff who have cared for them for many years.

Mrs Garnham said: "I don't look at myself as a useless cabbage that sits at home and gets withered and wizened. Is my life worth living if I'm going to stay in bed and wait for a local authority nurse to turn up? We were very proud that we actually employed five people."

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