Relocating paralysed Burgess Hill man labelled ‘inhumane’ after appeal rejected

Simon Gray has been paralysed from the chest down since he broke his neck in 2012. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150113-174229001
Simon Gray has been paralysed from the chest down since he broke his neck in 2012. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150113-174229001
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Councillors and friends of a paralysed man have not given up their fight against the ‘inhumane’ decision to move him away from his support network.

Simon Gray, 42, has lived in Ernest Kleinwort Court in Burgess Hill since he broke his neck in 2012.

He has a support network in Burgess Hill but East Sussex County Council (ESCC) has decided to move him to Peacehaven.

MP for Mid Sussex Sir Nicholas Soames described the decision as ‘inhumane’.

“I believe it is an appalling decision, it’s not been thought through properly, there should be a thorough investigation,” he said.

The MP will help Simon take his case to the ombudsman. Mid Sussex councillor Pru Moore said ESCC are ‘forcing a paraplegic man to take accommodation that is not only temporary but not fit for purpose’.

She added Simon, who used to live in Newhaven in East Sussex, moves in less than a week to a home with ‘no furniture, a kitchen he cannot manage, a boiler he cannot reach and access he cannot manage’.

She added that the sixteen and a half hours of carers’ time offered per week ‘could prove to be very challenging, indeed more likely very risky’.

“It is possible for ESCC to apply to the trust where Simon is living and request a reduction in fees to assist the extended period needed to implement some kind of programme. They have not done this,” she said.

“How can it be acceptable to move Simon, with all the ensuing trauma and expense, to a temporary accommodation, to then have to go through it all again?”

Simon’s friend Sharmila Lyons started a petition to stop him moving, which has more than 1,000 signatures.

She said: “As one of his new friends in the area he now resides in, we have offered him our full support and have watched him grow in confidence - and also watched it drain away over this past few weeks. Simon is not well, he is having problems sleeping and has not been able to eat, I am so worried about the impact of his health.I fear that this is going to destroy any sort of improvement of Simon’s rehabilitation.”

To sign the petition visit bit.ly/savesimon

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We are satisfied that we have carried out our statutory duty and considered all the information available to us. We are also confident that the property and support offered is suitable to meet Mr Gray’s needs within the community.”