Inverness Courier victory after lead

By Sarah Lagan Highland Council has ordered a review of its guidance to social workers after twice-weekly newspaper the Inverness Courier highlighted the case of a 98-year-old partially- sighted stroke victim who had his home help withdrawn.

The council had originally withdrawn the home help of George MacDonald, who was registered blind 15 years ago, as it did not consider he qualified as "vulnerable"

under new more stringent criteria drawn up to address the local authority's overspend.

Just hours after the Courier's front-page story hit the streets last week, director of social work Harriet Dempster issued a statement saying that after consultation with area community care manager for Inverness John Dunlop, extra guidance would be given to social workers and MacDonald's help had been reinstated.

Dempster said: "Staff had a very difficult job trying to keep services within budget and targeting services to ensure those with the highest levels of need were supported.

"I regret that Mr MacDonald's domestic care assistance was withdrawn.

I can appreciate the upset this has caused him. On learning of his concerns, we immediately visited him to review his needs and as a result we have reinstated his assistance.

As a result of this case, I will be reviewing the guidance we give to staff."

Courier editor Robert Taylor said: "We carried the story exclusively on the Tuesday morning and the statement came out on the Tuesday afternoon, so it was directly in response to our story. It's good to get a result."

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