Frail Edith is forced to carry boiling water to wash with after her boiler goes unrepaired at her sheltered housing bungalow in March for almost a week

PUBLISHED: 11:51 04 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:44 04 March 2016

Roddons housing,Morton Avenue March. Left: Daughter Liz Haggie and Mother Edith Howson. Picture: Steve Williams.

Roddons housing,Morton Avenue March. Left: Daughter Liz Haggie and Mother Edith Howson. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

A frail 93 year old woman was forced to carry kettles of boiling water from her kitchen to the bathroom so she could wash after her broken boiler was left unrepaired for a week.

Edith Howsam was also left with unsuitable heaters after her boiler broke down at her sheltered housing home in Morton Avenue, March.

It was the second time this winter that Mrs Howsam has faced a boiler breakdown and her family are furious with the apparent lack of urgency by housing association Roddons in getting it repaired.

Her family have also uncovered a lack of care at the complex where daily warden visits to check on residents have been gradually phased out.

They said it took over an hour for someone to respond when Mrs Howsam had a fall and pressed her emergency call button.

Roddons housing,Morton Avenue March. Picture: Steve Williams.Roddons housing,Morton Avenue March. Picture: Steve Williams.

Mrs Howsam lives just four doors away from where an elderly man lay dead in his bungalow for several days before anyone noticed in December last year.

Mrs Howsam featured on the front page of a glossy publicity brochure when Roddons first took over the sheltered accommodation in 2007 with a promise to improve services at the housing complex.

However, instead of things getting better, Mrs Howsam and her family have watched as things have got worse.

Her daughter Liz Haggie said: “I used to work in care, so to see the lack of care for my mum in what is supposed to be a sheltered housing complex is deeply upsetting. I know we’re not the only families with problems there either.

Four doors away a man laid dead for days before anybodyy noticed at Roddons sheltered housing in Morton Avenue March. Picture: Steve Williams.Four doors away a man laid dead for days before anybodyy noticed at Roddons sheltered housing in Morton Avenue March. Picture: Steve Williams.

“Nobody seems bothered. The boiler leaks constantly and mum regularly has to empty Tupperware containers that overflow and leak onto towels on the kitchen work surface.”

The heating was off for almost a week in December and she was issued with electric fan heaters and an instruction manual which clearly states the heaters should not be given to frail or vulnerable people.

“The design and layout of the bungalow is such that sockets are mounted close to doors on the route between the lounge and bathroom and kitchen, meaning you have to negotiate trailing leads to use the bathroom and kitchen.

“There is also the safety aspect of no hot water for personal hygiene so kettles of boiling water have to be carried from kitchen to bathroom and also boiled in order to wash dishes in the kitchen.”

In December when the boiler first broke the fan issued to her began smoking and she had to be given another.

Mrs Haggie continued: “Mum was too scared to leave the fans on at night so would wake up freezing and even when they were on the house didn’t get properly warm so she sat wrapped in blankets.

“She is too frail for this. The warden used to drop by every day to check on everybody now residents are supposed to walk up to the centre if they need anything.”

A spokesman for Roddons said that Centra Pulse answers 97.5 per cent of emergency calls within 60 seconds.

“Calls received on December 18 were from the residents daughter, advising that the gas boiler hadn’t been working for a few days.

“This was then passed on as an urgent repair at 09.35 on December 18 and took us 00.00.25 seconds to answer the call.

“Centra Pulse received two further follow up calls on the same day advising that this was being dealt with.

“We have checked records back until July 2015 and there are no calls regarding a fall.”

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