Veteran with mobility issues ‘forced to use supermarket toilet’

Bill Baxter a disabled army veteran suffering from leukaemia is stuck in a council house that is so unsuitable to his needs that he has to go to a nearby supermarket to use the toilet. Picture: SWNS
Bill Baxter a disabled army veteran suffering from leukaemia is stuck in a council house that is so unsuitable to his needs that he has to go to a nearby supermarket to use the toilet. Picture: SWNS
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A disabled army veteran suffering from leukaemia says he has to use a toilet in a supermarket because his council house is unsuitable.

Bill Baxter, 64, has mobility issues and is hoping Fife Council will be able to rehouse him in a smaller property with better facilities for the disabled.

He has osteoarthritis in both hips and his lower spine and relies on two sticks when out of the house.

The narrow bathroom and lack of a ramp outside cause difficulties for Mr Baxter, who relies on relatives nearby for meals as he cannot stand long enough to cook for himself.

Mr Baxter, from Burntisland, also has to use a supermarket toilet in Dalgety Bay, because it is the closest public toilet that is suitably high for him. Mr Baxter said: “I suffer in pain 24-7, even during the night. I just want to downgrade. It’s a family house. I’m sitting here in a three-bedroom house with subsidised rent. How much money is the council losing when they can let it out and get full rent for it?”

Mr Baxter has a seat for the bath, but fell while trying to climb in and dislocated his hip. “I need a wet room to wash in,” said Mr Baxter, who served in the Royal Artillery and with the Royal Engineers at RAF Leuchars.

“I have to wash myself down and my carer comes in and mops up the floor.”

His daughter, Kimberley Wiggins, said her father’s health had deteriorated over the past month.

She said: “We’re uprooting from Glasgow and moving to Fife to help care for my dad because he’s so ill.”

The family has contacted Kirkcaldy MSP David Torrance for help in finding more suitable accommodation.

Mr Torrance said: “I would urge Fife Council to consider the gentleman’s health issues and reach a resolution to this situation as soon as possible.”

Ken Burns, Fife Council housing manager for housing access said: “There’s a shortage of accessible ground floor properties in the areas Mr Baxter has selected.

“We’ve spoken to him about his current options in relation to his needs and choice of house types. The council’s housing occupational therapists support people in Mr Baxter’s position by carrying out assessments and providing a range of aids or adaptations to their current home.”