A DISABLED man today told how he has been left virtually housebound after council staff took away his “damaged” wheelchair.
David Garbett had visited Sunderland City Council’s headquarters to discuss an unrelated financial issue with adult services.
However, the 47-year-old said that when he arrived for his appointment he was told that he would not be allowed to leave with his electric wheelchair, provided by the local authority, because it had been “damaged” in a bump with a shop door.
Now, the ex-Nissan worker faces a long wait for a replacement model after an apparent supply problem.
“I didn’t even go there to discuss the wheelchair,” said David.
“It was working fine. I was more than happy with it.”
David said he has been left largely confined to his Carley Hill home after struggling to get around in his non-electric wheelchair and crutches.
Left disabled in a 26ft fall while working as a window cleaner eight years ago, he faces regular bouts of pain in his feet, which were crushed in the accident.
“It’s virtually impossible to get out and about,” he said.
“I have to rely on people giving me lifts.
“I can’t really afford to pay for a taxi to take me around, so it’s easier just to stay home.
“I don’t even go down to the shops if I can help it. I still can’t believe they took the wheelchair away.
“I had a bit of a bang in it while going into a shop, but there was no real damage done to it.
“I travelled from home to the council offices in the city centre, so it must have been working okay.
“The staff must have noticed some little knock on the bodywork, but it was nothing.
“Now I’ve been told there will be a delay in the replacement arriving because of some sort of supply problem.
“It’s turned my whole life upside down.”
Councillor Graeme Miller, Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Health, Housing and Adult Services, said: “We are working as quickly as possible to resolve Mr Garbett’s situation.
“Having established that his existing wheelchair was unsafe, we have provided him with temporary equipment that can be used more safely.
“We will continue to work with Mr Garbett to ensure that his requirements are identified and safely met.”