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Friends of dementia patient, 81, fear they are being punished after speaking to media

PUBLISHED: 07:30 18 February 2016 | UPDATED: 10:25 18 February 2016

Woman suffering from dementia. Credit: BBC London

Woman suffering from dementia. Credit: BBC London

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Neighbours of a woman with dementia filmed living in squalor say they are being punished by Haringey Council for speaking to the press about her alleged inadequate social care.

“Barbara”, an 81-year-old woman, had “painfully overgrown” toenails and faeces smeared on the walls of her home, as shown in a BBC London report which aired earlier this month.

She is currently in hospital with an infection and her friends say Haringey Council has indicated it is moving her to a new address - but officers will not tell them where.

Haringey Council has allegedly asked hospital staff not to pass on any information.

Neighbours Eileen Cowgill and Carmen Guerrini, both in their 70s, have looked after Barbara for decades.

They fear they will never see Barbara again if Haringey Council moves her to a nursing home or new address.

A third neighbour, who asked not to be named, phoned the Broadway in distress from North Middlesex Hospital.

She said: “I could cry. Barbara wants to know where she’s 
going. She’s crying and she’s scared.

“We could never see her again.

“She’s asking us to visit her, but we can’t promise her we can visit.

“We’ve supported Barbara for so many years, it’s like a death.”

The neighbour says Barbara does not have any other next-of-kin.

And she believes her closest friends are being punished by Haringey Council for approaching the BBC.

The group has found a lawyer, but are concerned he will not be able to find Barbara.

This is the second time Haringey Council allegedly attempted to shut out Barbara’s friends.

The neighbour said Haringey Council changed the locks to Barbara’s house after the BBC report.

A spokeswoman for Haringey Council declined to comment on individual details of the case.

She said: “We take our responsibility to all residents receiving care extremely seriously.

“Whilst it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the details of individual cases, we have been in frequent contact with this resident, including regularly visiting her at home and promptly investigating concerns that were raised to us.

“The support that is currently provided in this case, which includes four daily visits, is in line with the resident’s express wishes and we will continue to work closely with them to ensure that this remains the case.

“We are also working with our contracted care provider to help identify and implement improvements to the service they provide.”

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