Disabled veteran fears he’ll die before council fixes home

William Baxter.  Picture: David Cruickshanks
William Baxter. Picture: David Cruickshanks

A disabled army veteran with leukaemia who is waiting for his home to be made adapted to his mobility needs says he fears he will be dead by the time Fife Council gets round to taking action.

Bill Baxter (65) had originally been looking to move to a smaller house which would allow him to use the bathroom – while he currently has to drive from Burntisland to Dalgety Bay to use a supermarket disabled toilet.

However, after the council was unable to find him a suitable home, Bill asked to be removed from the waiting list and have his current home adapted instead.

He said the property was earmarked to have a ramp put in, doors widened, the bathroom turned into a wetroom, and kitchen worktops lowered.

But things took a twist when another occupational therapist got in touch saying they would examine his needs for a possible house move.

Bill, who served in the Royal Artillery and with the Royal Engineers, has osteoarthritis in both hips and his lower spine, and relies on two sticks when out of the house.

Bill said: “The occupational therapist was out about three months ago and she ok’d the adaptations that needed done. She said people would be in touch to measure up. We haven’t heard a thing since.”

“The council is just delaying things,” Bill said. “It hasn’t got a house for me.

“The feeling I get is it is just waiting for me to die, so it doesn’t have to spend that money.”

His daughter Kimberley said: “We’ve had three housing options meetings that went nowhere.

“How ridiculous is it that he can’t use his own toile?t

“With his leukaemia he has a very low immune system. He can’t bathe himself.

“He’s a lot more prone to pick up bugs because he can’t even wash properly.

“I feel like he doesn’t have a lot of time left, and I’m extremely worried about the time that we have left together.

“It’s just delaying tactics, because it’ll cost them a lot more to adapt his home than it would to move him.”

Ken Burns, housing access manager for Fife Council, said: “There seems to be some misunderstanding and we’re trying to arrange an urgent visit to discuss Mr Baxter’s requirements.”