Toilet training order for disabled residents at housing complex

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SCOTLAND'S care watchdog is investigating claims that disabled residents at a supported-housing complex have been told to train themselves to go to the toilet at fixed times to fit in with a strict new rota.

The allegations are among a series of complaints that have been made about the care of residents at the complex in the Mastrick area of Aberdeen, run by the Margaret Blackwood Housing Association.

Residents are said to have branded the system demeaning and a breach of their human rights.

They also allege that, when they questioned the new rota rules, they were told to "train their bowels".

The Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) is understood to have launched its investigation after a relative of one of the residents made a series of allegations about care at the complex in Eday Gardens.

One resident, who did not wish to be identified, said: "When I first came here, it was 24-hour care that was advertised, and we were able to buzz and go to the toilet whenever we wanted.

"A lot of the staff have left and we appreciate that everyone is making cuts just now, but we are under a lot of pressure with these timetables.

"You can't force yourself to go to the toilet. In this day and age, it shouldn't be happening. It's against human rights and so demeaning."

The Margaret Blackwood Housing Association, which has more than 1,500 properties across 29 local authorities in Scotland, and Aberdeen City Council are currently reviewing how care is administered at the Eday Gardens complex.

A spokesman for SCSWIS said the findings of the investigation were expected to be made public within the next few days.

He said: "SCSWIS has received a complaint about a number of issues regarding the care and support being provided at Eday Gardens. These have been investigated and the results are currently being finalised.

"SCSWIS is committed to good practice and ensuring that everyone who uses care services in Scotland receives acceptable care that promotes and respects their rights. We have a robust complaint investigation system in place to help regulate care standards across the country and ensure that vulnerable people are protected."

In a joint statement, the Margaret Blackwood Housing Association and the city council said they were working together to "improve choice and personalisation" for tenants.

The statement continued: "We have been working closely together on a planned review of the service and individual care arrangements. All users and staff have been fully involved and will be consulted on any proposed changes."

They declined to comment on the specific allegations.