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Stricken amputee stranded in flat

PUBLISHED: 16:23 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:12 11 August 2010

AN AMPUTEE is stranded in her flat because of a faulty lift which has not been fixed properly for weeks. Irene Shirley lives on the first floor of a block of flats in Althorne Way, Dagenham, but struggles with the stairs. In 2004 she had half a leg amputa

AN AMPUTEE is stranded in her flat because of a faulty lift which has not been fixed properly for weeks.

Irene Shirley lives on the first floor of a block of flats in Althorne Way, Dagenham, but struggles with the stairs.

In 2004 she had half a leg amputated because of complications connected with diabetes, and now uses a wheelchair.

For a month and a half the lift has been breaking down at least twice a week and Mrs Shirley, 56, has missed several important hospital appointments to do with her leg because she cannot get down the stairs.

She said: "It's very hard for me to use the stairs. I'm only on the first floor but it can take me 20 minutes to get down if my leg's playing up, which it often does.

"I usually use a wheelchair but when the lift's not working I can't use it.

"When it's not working I have to wait indoors. The council keep saying they'll fix it but when you go out there it's never been done."

Last Tuesday (March 18) an ambulance arrived to take Mrs Shirley to a hospital appointment but she had to send it away because she could not get down the stairs. She suffers from constant pain in both her legs.

"I have to keep cancelling appointments," she said. The hospital is getting annoyed with me. They keep asking me why I'm complaining about my legs playing up when I don't come in for appointments.

"But how can I when I can't get down the stairs?"

Mrs Shirley has lived in Althorne Way as a council tenant for 14 years and says she would consider moving to a ground floor flat.

She has been told by social services that she is a priority for a move to a more accessible property but is still waiting.

A council spokesman said: "We apologise for any problems caused by this lift being out of action. There is one lift that serves this block of 36 flats and we are investigating whether there have been any recent reports about the lift not working.

"We checked on Wednesday and the lift is definitely working, but Enterprise, the council housing contractor, will ensure that any reports of faults at Althorne Way will be given a high priority.

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