A former Fife high school teacher has been trapped in his own home for a year because he can’t get his wheelchair through his front door.
David MacLean has not been outside since moving into the Fife Council property in Cupar in January as the entrance has a raised threshold.
He was unable to access his bathroom for the first 11 months and he still can’t reach his kitchen sink.
Mr MacLean, who has multiple sclerosis, wants to move to a specially-adapted council house that meets his needs but has been told there are none available.
North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie has described his plight as distressing and called for an urgent solution.
Fife Council said it was working on a number of options, including looking for alternative housing.
“I haven’t been able to go out for fresh air or into the bathroom to wash my hands.”
Mr MacLean, 62, was depute rector of Glenwood High School in Glenrothes until he was medically retired in 2010.
He moved in with his daughter but his granddaughter found it difficult to cope with carers coming to the house.
When he was admitted to Adamson Hospital in Cupar with an infection in 2018, it was decided he should stay there until a suitable house was identified for him.
Unfortunately, he was stuck in hospital for more than a year before a home was eventually found in the west of the town.
“I finally moved in to this one but they hadn’t put a community alarm in,” Mr MacLean said.
“They had to stick me in a care home over last Christmas and new year until the alarm was fitted.
“That was in January.
“I haven’t been able to go out for fresh air or into the bathroom to wash my hands since.
“All the things we’re told to do to protect us from Covid, I haven’t been able to do for months.”
Mr MacLean said council joiners finally widened his bathroom door earlier this month but many problems remain.
“They’ve started fixing things but the house really isn’t terribly suitable,” he said.
“I can’t easily reach the light switches and the electrical sockets aren’t accessible.
“When I’ve got the footplates on my wheelchair I can’t get anywhere near my kitchen units or my kitchen sink and there’s no room for a turning circle for the wheelchair.”
It is distressing that David has been put in this situation.”
Willie Rennie MSP.
He added: “Before I moved in here, I was reasonably independent in my electric chair and could go quite a way.
“I could get in a taxi and go to the shops.
“But now I’m stuck in the house purely because it has not been adapted.”
Mr MacLean was keen to emphasis the work of the carers who come to the house daily to help him.
“The physical stuff in the house is awkward but the whole situation is made bearable by the excellent carers I have coming in,” he said.
“When I was teaching, one of the new subjects that was introduced was actually care for people.
“Ironically, one of the things I used to get the kids to do was design a house that was suitable for someone in a wheelchair.
“I don’t think any of them would have designed this one.”
Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie said he was saddened to hear of Mr MacLean’s circumstances.
“With completely inadequate housing, David has been effectively locked in his home,” he said.
“The council must find a solution urgently to this problem.
“I know the council officers are working hard to find suitable accommodation or to make his current accommodation suitable.
“But it is distressing that David has been put in this situation in the first place.
“I have been in discussion with the council to seek a resolution to this upsetting situation and will continue to work with them to make sure Mr MacLean gets the accommodation he needs to live comfortably.”
Fife Council housing manager Gordon Binnie confirmed the council is working with Mr MacLean to ensure his home is suitable.
“This might involve looking at alternative housing options and we are discussing this with Mr MacLean,” he said.