Council to conduct independent review after Maida Vale man known to social services dies after being left alone and ‘bedridden’
PUBLISHED: 12:51 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:30 10 July 2020
Westminster Council are conducting an independent review into the death of a Maida Vale man who was “left” by social services during lockdown.
David Ross, a former RAF helicopter engineer for the RAF, passed away in Hammersmith Hospital, after suffering from terminal lung cancer.
During the coronavirus lockdown, visits from the RAF Association and the local W9 support charity saw the alarm raised after it appeared Mr Ross was in need of care.
Staff realised it was apparent he needed help, and called in Russ Kitching from the W9 community support charity.
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Mr Kitching, whose team helped to care for Mr Ross, said he was “bedridden and struggled walking” and that his “biggest fear was losing his tenancy”.
On his first visit, there were flies on Mr Ross’ prized possession – a framed invitation to meet the Queen – and his fridge was broken.
It is understood that Mr Ross first came to the attention of social services in 2019, but his interaction with the council is unclear.
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Westminster Council were told that Mr Ross needed someone to feed him and while the town hall held a review meeting, Mr Kitching helped clear up the flat.
Along with friend and neighbour Katerina Letsos, the W9 team also helped mark his 80th birthday in April.
Katerina said he had been living : “He had done a lot in his life. He had great memories to share. He had pictures of the Amazon and he met the Queen. When Covid happened I started bringing him some milk and basic food.”
She added: “Why was David left on his own for such a long time? He was a man who fought for his country.”
One day in May, Mr Ross failed to answer the phone and he was found on the floor after falling.
He was taken to hospital, and medics discovered he was in the terminal stages of lung cancer – he died three weeks later.
His funeral, organised by Russ and Katerina as Mr Ross had no known next-of-kin, was due to take place on July 10.
An independent management review has been launched to look at his care over the last few months.
A Westminster City Council spokesman added: “Whilst we do not comment upon individual cases, we will always look at all our services to see whether any improvements can be made.”
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