Wednesday, 4 May 2016


Since we were moved from Farnham Hospital to Aldershot Centre for Health for Stacie's dental care, I have had nothing but problems with the NHS with regard to payment of the fees.  The whole time she was with Farnham Hospital, treatment was free - as it should be under the circumstances.  Upon changing to Aldershot, every time she went for a check up or a visit to the hygenist, I then received a letter from the NHS threatening us with a £100 fine for 'fraudulently' claiming for free dental treatment.

Each time I wrote a letter explaining our circumstances and the benefits that Stacie is entitled to and each time they cancelled the fine.  I tried to get to the bottom of why this kept happening and discovered she should be getting a different (higher) rate of ESA, so went through the rigmarole of re-applying (and the mega long forms it entails) and got that sorted.  Then the next time we visited the dentist, the same thing happened again.  I had a very unpleasant phone call with some man in the NHS department that deals with fines etc. who even had the gall to tell me that 'just because Stacie has Down's Syndrome, that doesn't entitle her to free medical treatment'....OK, I but I beg to differ!

So last year I then had to apply for an HC2 form which entitles her to free medical/dental care and free prescriptions.  This form ran out last month, so in order to prevent further 'fines', I re-applied.  I didn't get a new HC2 form for Stacie, what I did get was a letter saying that as she received the higher rate of ESA she is AUTOMATICALLY ENTITLED TO FREE MEDICAL/DENTAL TREATMENT and there is no need for her to have an HC2 form.  I would like a photocopy of this letter to be shown to that phone operator,  rolled tightly and inserted where the sun doesn't shine!  It is wrong that the disabled and their carers should have to jump through hoops unnecessarily for something they are already entitled to, we have enough to worry about.


Well, it took 4 months, but we have now got Stacie into a new weekly activity - she chose the Launchpad ladies coffee morning on Wednesdays.  It had to go by the social services panel for approval, which went well and we were allocated some money for transport as well.

Yesterday was her first time there and I decided that I would accompany her in the taxi to make sure she got there safely, as she had no idea where she was going.  Just as well, as upon arriving at Farnborough Library, we discovered it was shut until 9.30 and no-one there knew anything about any Launchpad meeting!  After a couple of frantic phone calls to the lady who organises it while the taxi driver patiently waited, I finally got hold of her and discovered that they actually meet up in the neighbouring community centre and walk across to the library when it opens.  I'm pretty sure I wasn't told this, but last week I was dealing with the death of our much loved dog and quite frankly was not thinking about anything else, so it might have been my fault for not registering what I was told. (Don't think it was though...)

Anyway, we eventually found the right place, by which time Stacie had a face like thunder as she had no clue what was going on, what she was supposed to be doing or who she was supposed to be doing it with and was not happy at seeing me walk off and leave her there.  I spent the whole morning waiting for the phone call to say she was either crying her eyes out or had shut down completely and was refusing to move when asked.  However, no phone call!  Then after 12 p.m. I was waiting for her to come home, hoping that being brought back by taxi on her own would be less fraught than the early morning trip.  Sending Stacie off on her own to places with people I don't know always worries me - if anything was to go wrong, she would not have the first idea of what to do and she is very vulnerable.  You have to put your trust in complete strangers, trust that they will look after her as well as you do and that they will return her safely - it's very difficult.  I did use a taxi company that already takes her to her Friday activity as in my experience they have always looked after her well, the drivers being friendly, helpful and kind. (The chap that took us there in the morning was brilliant, waiting for over 15 minutes without complaining while I tried to sort out where Stacie was going, and then bringing me home.)

However, I needn't have worried - the taxi pulled up and she got out with a big smile on her face.  She brought home some bunting she had made and told me that two of her long-term friends had also been there.  When asked if she would like to go there again next week, the answer was a resounding yes!  Which means we are sorted for the forseeable future.  The next worry is the government cuts to funding for services for the disabled - Stacie's Friday activity might be in jeopardy, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.