Disabled mum to fight new flat KO

A DISABLED mum is fighting the city council after they rejected her pleas to move to a ground-floor flat - even though an upcoming operation will leave her unable to climb stairs for months.

Catherine Clarkson, who lives in Portobello Road, has suffered a pre-cancerous condition for 18 years that has required several painful operations and has left her barely able to walk.

But despite being due to receive a skin-graft procedure in early January, which doctors say will greatly reduce her mobility, council officials have refused to move her to a high-priority accommodation list.

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Mrs Clarkson, who was previously left bedridden for nine months after an operation to cut away pre-cancerous cells, said she does not know how she will manage.

The 42-year-old said: "It is a horrible and painful situation. My surgeon says I will not be able to climb stairs for a long time. I don't know exactly what the outcome will be, but I could be in a wheelchair.

"Last time I had an operation I was housebound, I couldn't get out at all. I remember it took me around 45 minutes to climb up the 36 steps to my second-floor flat.

"This time I'll need to keep still to give my skin graft the chance to heal properly and to stop infection. I asked the council for a move in August, but I have been told that I won't be put on a high-priority list.

"I think it's ridiculous because nobody in the council department is medically trained, so how would they understand my condition?"

She added: "I am not asking them for anything else. My aftercare has been sorted through my doctors and hospital. I just want to move to a ground-floor flat so that I don't have to suffer pain."

Mrs Clarkson, who lives with her husband and 18-year-old daughter, described how she had suffered problems since having a hysterectomy aged 26.

She said some days the pain was so bad she could not wear clothes or move any distance apart from between her bathroom and bedroom.

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Mrs Clarkson has now appealed the decision, which the council has agreed to address.

An e-mail from one official said: "I have asked for an appeal visit to be arranged . . . I thought it would be useful to outline the assessment process which in Edinburgh differs from most other local authorities in Scotland. We do not undertake a medical assessment . . . Priority is only awarded when there are long-term housing needs. "

Mrs Clarkson said her doctor and gynaecologist have both written letters supporting her request to move.

A council spokesman told the Evening News that officials were due to address Mrs Clarkson's appeal within a fortnight.

He said: "No final decision has been reached as an appeal has been lodged."