Terminally ill lung-cancer sufferer refused disabled parking badge by Wandsworth Council
12:40pm Wednesday 17th October 2012 in News
A lung-cancer sufferer given only months to live was refused a disabled parking badge because the council claimed her problems were with breathing instead of mobility.
When Wandsworth Council finally buckled under pressure from the local MP it was too late, she was already admitted to Trinity Hospice.
Julie Green, 73, of Roehampton, held a blue badge because she used a motor-scooter and suffered from degenerative arthritis but when new guidelines came into force in January she needed to reapply and was shocked when, after an appointment with a council-employed occupational therapist (OT), she was refused.
In addition, the initial blue badge refusal letter was lost by the council and Julie’s friends were forced to chase it for her.
A letter sent by the council stated: “A badge is only issued if the applicant meets the relevant eligibility criteria of the blue badge scheme.
“Applicants’ medical conditions that do not have an impact on their mobility remain outside the remit of the OT and the scheme itself.”
When the Oxfam volunteer of 14 years had an x-ray at Kingston Hospital to gain evidence for her case, she was told she had advanced lung cancer as well as tumours on her spine, with doctors giving her only months to live.
Even this terrible diagnosis failed to persuade the council, which continued to refuse her claims, before a letter from MP Justine Greening pushed the authority to issue a blue badge.
But by then progression of the cancer had seen Ms Green already admitted to Trinity Hospice.
Partner Richard Baggalay, 59, said: “For Julie it was very depressing.
“When she asked for a little bit of help she gets badly treated.
“They lose her file and there is this almost Stalinist way to get people to jump through hoops.
“As a retired individual, doing good work in Wandsworth, when she finds she needs a bit of help and assistance it’s a slap around the head.”
Mr Baggalay also attacked the process used to assess his partner’s need.
He claimed she was offered a reserved parking spot on the day of the appointment, but then her mobility was secretly assessed as she walked the 80 metres from the car to the building.
He said: “What we dislike most of all was discovering this observation was being made.”
There are now plans to take the complaint to the local government ombudsman.
A spokesman for the council said: “It is important that blue badge assessments are carried out thoroughly, robustly and professionally to ensure that only those people who are genuinely entitled to them benefit.
“When Mrs Green applied in November 2011 she did not meet the strict criteria laid down by the Department for Transport. However, as time progressed she did become entitled to a badge and this was provided to her in July 2012.”