Moray MP Douglas Ross has expressed his disappointment that Moray Health & Social Care Partnership is refusing to reconsider its decision to charge users for maintenance of disabled facilities.
Commenting after MHSCP said they would not remove these charges on disabled toilets, Douglas said: “I’m extremely disappointed by this response as I was hopeful that they would rethink this decision which effectively penalises disabled and vulnerable people.
“It just isn’t good enough. A number of local residents contacted me as they had received a bill out of the blue for £108 per year to maintain their Clos-o-mat wash/dry disabled toilet.
“Some were even asked to pay a backdated amount from April, even though no bill had been presented to them prior to this. Some have had these toilets for several years and have never been asked to pay before while others had recently had one installed and weren’t told there would be a maintenance charge.
“In their response to me, the MHSCP manager stated this decision had been made by councillors earlier this year and was being looked at in the same way as the service charge for a disabled lift. But I find this a very poor answer; disabled people shouldn’t be charged extra for this basic human necessity and a lot of people have contacted me since this went public to express their anger and humiliation at their circumstances and feel they are being taken advantage of.
“I have been reassured if they can’t pay the toilet won’t be removed, but how is that going to work going forward? Is their bill going to add up and they will just be further in debt? This equipment was installed because they each have a particular need for a toileting aid so it’s just wrong they are being targeted in this way.
“For disabled people, having a disabled toilet is a basic necessity. It’s not a luxury item and this has caused considerable anxiety and upset and I’m asking again for MHSCP to re-visit their decision and urgently scrap this charge.”