A Kirkcaldy disabled man’s case has been used to highlight the UK’s decline in treatment of disabled people on a national TV news report.
Jim Lynch appeared on a Channel 4 news report after a United Nations report condemned the UK Government for cutbacks which have resulted in poorer treatment of those with disabilities.
Jim had his right leg amputated after complications related to diabetes and has suffered three strokes, meaning his mobility is severely restricted and he can’t leave the house without help.
The UN report highlights failures in UK policy which affect issues such as housing, health, work, and education.
It named 72 negative findings, and just two positives.
Jim, and his partner Jackie have had more than their fair share of problems in trying to access services.
In the aftermath of losing his leg, he was told by medics that he would need to get out to promote mental health.
However, his social care, which he needs to get out, was cut from 12 hours to just four hours. It has been a struggle for the couple, but eventually there was a slight increase in social care hours.
Jim’s life revolves around one room in his house; the living room where he has to sleep and wash.
With care and housing shortages, Jim would like to see the government doing more to meet the needs of disabled people.
“It should be the number one priority,” he said. “Everybody’s getting older, they’re living longer, they need more disabled houses for disabled folk, and it’s like they need to ask permission for someone higher than them ‘can we build these homes?’.”
Jackie said: “I don’t know who works out who gets what. It just seems so unfair.
“Everything’s cut back, services withdrawn. You get pulled in and assessed, and it’s a points system. Nothing seems to be working.
“It’s not just Fife, it’s everywhere. You don’t choose to be unhealthy or lose limbs, but you’ve still got to live your life.”
These days, Jim is a little more upbeat. Getting out even for a short time clearly helps him.
Despite a recent fall where he hit his head, he’s kept his sense of humour. “I tried to knock sense into myself, but it didn’t work,” he jokes.
However, the UK failing disabled people is no laughing matter for the couple.
Jim is due care hours to get out of the house more but often carers aren’t available.
Jim’s trips to the gym are the only opportunity for a shower all week.
But with a carer shortage this week cancelling his trip, he won’t be able to shower until the middle of the month.
For Jim, and countless others across the UK, the struggle continues.