Paralysed bride to be hits out at health bosses after care package slashed

Tracy Geldart and her fiance, Mark Gornall, fear for their future after Tracy, who is confined to a wheelchair after an accident two years ago, had her care package cut.
Tracy Geldart and her fiance, Mark Gornall, fear for their future after Tracy, who is confined to a wheelchair after an accident two years ago, had her care package cut.

A Burnley woman, who was left paralysed after a fall at her home, claims that health bosses are putting her life at risk by slashing her hours of care.

Tracy Geldart and her fiancé, Mark Gornall, are demanding answers as to why her care package, which was put in place after the horrific accident in March 2015, has been cut.

Tracy said: "I just want to know why the service we were promised has now been reduced so drastically.

"I was told that I required specialist care but I feel that in reality no-one cares.

"All I want is the care we were reassured I would receive right from the start."

The couple decided to go public with their plight in the hope that other people in similar circumstances will have the courage to speak out.

Life changed in an instant for Tracy, a former financial administrator, when she fell down the stairs at her home in Burnley.

She spent several months recovering in the spinal injuries unit at Southport Hospital and a nursing home in

Preston before she was finally allowed home.

Her injuries were so serious and devastating Tracy is now tetraplegic, which means she is paralysed from the

chest down and cannot use her hands or legs.

She also needs 24-hour care, seven days a week, due to life threatening conditions associated to her

permanent injury.

The devoted couple, who have been together for eight years, were left devastated earlier this year when the

hours were cut from 168 a week to just 60.

Tracy has a carer, who works for a locally based care agency, for the 60 hours but the remaining 108 hours of care are covered by Mark who receives £62 a week under the carers' allowance.

This means he has been forced to give up working as a joiner and will not be able to return to paid work until

Tracy receives the 108 hours she needs due to her complex care.

Mark said: "That loss of my income has hit us extremely hard financially.

"I am not entitled to any other benefits therefore we have to rely on the benefits Tracy receives due to her

Injury and we are falling behind with mortgage payments and utility bills."

The couple also made the heartbreaking decision to postpone their wedding and sell their rings to help pay

the bills as they are so worried about how they are going to manage financially.

Tracy has been told she can apply for personal health budget where she decides how and who the money is

spent with.

Tracy said: "The accident was bad enough but I have come to terms with that now.

"My old life was completely different, I have a new life now and the two are not connected.

"I just want to be able to get on with it, that is all I am asking."

In a bid for answers the couple have enlisted the help of Burnley MP Julie Cooper.

A spokesman for the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We do not discuss the personal

circumstances of an individual’s case because this would be a breach of confidentiality.

"Patients in receipt of NHS fully funded Continuing Health Care by their nature have complex needs which

require assessment and careful consideration to enable us to provide an affordable, safe and sustainable

package of care.

"If a patient wishes to have their care needs met at home we will work with the patient and their family to

explore how these are best met.

"This is always a complex process requiring negotiation and compromise to ensure that needs are met within

available funds.

"The CCG continues to work closely with Tracy and Mark to secure a safe and sustainable package of care.”