Disabled woman had to sleep upright for four nights after Northampton Partnership Homes failed to fix lift

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A disabled woman was unable to use her bedrooom or bathroom for four days after a lift broke at her Northampton council house.

Council tenant Helen Fowler, from Abington, is wheelchair bound after contracting encephalitis, so has a lift that takes her up to the first floor of her house.

However it broke on Friday and, despite promises from Northampton Partnership Homes, which is owned by Northampton Borough Council and manages all the housing services of the council, it was only repaired on Tuesday.

In the meantime, she has been forced to use a commode downstairs, get washed in the kitchen and - because her disability means she needs a safety rail when lying down - sleep sitting up on her sofa.

She said: “It’s really bad that it’s taken so long. They sent people out four times and none of them were able to help. They even sent someone out who thought he was here to repair a stair lift.

“What if I was living on my own with nobody to fetch and carry things from upstairs?

Mrs Fowler, a mum, said this was the fourth time the lift had broken.

Up until 2013, it was under guarantee and so the company that installed it would carry out speedy repairs.

Since NPH became responsible, delays have resulted and Mrs Fowler has had to go through the council to get repairmen out. This is the second time Mrs Fowler has been stuck downstairs for several days.

Geoff Prior, director of property services at NPH, said: “We’re sorry that Mrs Fowler’s lift has broken down on several occasions and for the difficulties this has caused her.

“Having contacted Mrs Fowler we can confirm that our appointed lift engineers have carried out repairs to the lift and she now has access to the upstairs of her home.

“We can also confirm that replacement lift parts have already been ordered and will be installed immediately upon receipt.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version on this story referred to Northampton Borough Council. We have been asked to point out that it is the responsibility of Northampton Partnership Homes. NPH is wholly owned by NBC but has its own board of directors and is an “arms length” organisation.