A DISABLED man was forced to spend the final months of his life in bed because Lancashire County Council failed to provide him with the special chair he needed.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found the chair still hadn’t been provided seven months after the man, who has not been identified, died.

The man, who had Parkinson’s Disease, lived with his wife in an adapted home. An NHS occupational therapist (OT) assessment noted the man needed a special chair to prevent him sliding onto the floor.

His wife said she struggled to help her husband as she had back problems and would have to call on neighbours, or for an ambulance, when this happened.

The OT had referred the recommendation for a special chair to the council. Its own OT assessed the man, made a number of recommendations to make the life safer for the man and his wife, including a special chair, but delayed making the arrangements for the chair.

And the Ombudsman’s investigation found the council delayed requesting the specialist chair, failed to record its contacts with the contractor who would provide the chair and took too long to approve the funding application.

The council has now agreed to apologise to the man’s wife and pay her £750 for the distress caused and the time and trouble in pursuing the complaint.

It will also act to ensure officers manage their work effectively and without delay and produce a schedule for filling OT vacancies as soon as possible.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “This man should not have had to spend his last few weeks bed-bound. He could no longer sit in a chair because he was at risk of sliding to the floor, and his wife was unable to help return him to the chair because of her own health problems.

“While the council had already apologised before my investigation, it failed to identify the root cause of the delay.

“When things go wrong, lessons can only be learned to improve future services if the correct causes are identified. I am pleased Lancashire County Council agreed to my recommendations, but I would urge it to reflect on my report and consider what action it now needs to take so other people are not similarly affected.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “The Local Government Ombudsman found fault on the part of the Council, and this caused injustice to the complainant.

“The county council has apologised fully to the family for the distress caused by its failings.

“Lancashire County Council has agreed with the action recommended by the Ombudsman and drawn up an action plan to address the shortcomings identified in his report.”