Carer criticises Haringey Council after respite cancelled

Andrea Jackman and her son Moubarak whose care at Edwards Drive Respite Unit was cancelled a day int

Andrea Jackman and her son Moubarak whose care at Edwards Drive Respite Unit was cancelled a day into his stay. - Credit: Archant

The mother of a 32-year-old epileptic with learning disabilities has criticised the council in a dispute over care.

Andrea Jackman’s son Moubarak Barkad-Dirie was supposed to stay a week at Edwards Drive Respite Unit in Haringey, but was returned home to Effingham Road, Muswell Hill, after one day with his mum being told the stay was cancelled.

“The notice was so short I could have gone anywhere. What would have happened then?” Andrea, a Cancer Research volunteer, said.

Andrea – her son’s sole carer since her husband Mourad was killed in a car accident in 1988 at the age of 29 – was told the centre would “temporarily suspend all respite placements” because of staffing problems.

“This has caused a lot of stress. It’s not easy having a child with disabilities. To look after him 24/7 is a very hard job. Respite helps us to relieve tension,” she said.

Andrea accused the council of misleading her saying she was only offered home visits by the Edwards Drive centre manager whereas Haringey say she was offered “alternative respite care” which she refused.

“They said, Would you like someone to come and help? I said no because that’s not respite.”

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Commenting on what alternative respite care would be acceptable, she said: “I hope it’s something stable. If not, I’m not accepting it.”

A spokesman on behalf of Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group and Haringey Council said: “We are committed to offering the best possible support to residents with health and social care needs, and their families, and we’re sorry that on this occasion we had to make changes at short notice. The safety of residents must come first. Unfortunately, a shortage of nursing staff at Edwards Drive meant we could no longer offer respite care at that location.

“As soon as it became clear that we wouldn’t be able to accommodate Ms Jackson’s son at Edward’s Drive, the manager called her to apologise and offer alternative respite care, which Ms Jackson didn’t feel was suitable. We’re continuing to work with Ms Jackson to assess her family’s needs and find the best solution.”

Expressing her frustration at the treatment of carers and people with learning disabilities in general, Andrea said: “I can’t handle it anymore. It’s too much.”

“Sometimes I go to bed at night and cry. But I can’t give up on my son because he’s mine. I won’t swap him for anyone else.”