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Former Ballerina Loses Appeal For Night Carer To Help Her Use The Toilet

July 6, 2011

The end of that headline nearly got Daily Mail style capital-letter treatment, because I am so shocked by this story.

A former ballerina from west London left disabled by a stroke has lost her Supreme Court case to get an overnight carer to help her use a commode.

Elaine McDonald, 67, had challenged Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea after she lost her case at the Court of Appeal in London last October.

Since the stroke in 1999 Ms McDonald needs to use a wheelchair outside.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said councils will now “find it easier to justify withdrawing care”.

Ms McDonald’s appeal was dismissed by judges in a majority ruling.

The pensioner, who was once a star of Scottish Ballet, received an OBE in 1983.

‘Significant setback ‘

John Wadham, group director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said he was “disappointed” with the ruling which was a “significant setback for people who receive care in their home”.

“Ms McDonald is not incontinent. However, this judgment means she will be treated as such.

“Local authorities will now have greater discretion in deciding how to meet a person’s home care needs and will find it easier to justify withdrawing care.

“This means that older people’s human rights to privacy, autonomy and dignity will often be put at serious risk.

“The court has missed a significant opportunity to interpret the law to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society,” he said.

The former ballerina had claimed the care package she received from the authority, to cover her needs during the day and night, should include assistance at night to use a commode.

Ms McDonald had told a previous hearing that she was not incontinent, but was left with no option to use incontinence pads overnight, which she considered an “affront to her dignity”, and wanted help to use a commode.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 6, 2011 10:06 pm

    There is some blog commentary on this:

    Court tells disabled woman: just wet yourself (by me)
    This article by Benefit Scrounging Scum at Where’s the Benefit?
    Supreme court’s decision on Elaine McDonald case is a major setback at DPAC

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