THE WIFE OF a terminally ill cancer patient fears that he will die in hospital – because local council officials in Moray and Aberdeenshire cannot provide a suitable home for them to live in.
Alan Mackie served for 33 years with the Aberdeenshire council – but now his wife Frances, who is originally from Lossiemouth, fears that he will not get his wish for them to spend his final days together at home.
Mrs Mackie has applied to both local authorities seeking suitable accommodation but so far has hit a brick wall, with neither appearing to recognise the urgency of the situation despite medical evidence supporting their application.
Alan was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in his stomach earlier this year having suffered a long illness during which there was a failure to detect the condition. He is currently in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where he believes he has just weeks to live.
The couple had been staying in private rental accommodation in Inverurie, but as Mr Mackie can no longer use stairs they can no longer live there – and in any case their landlord has put the property on the market and they are expecting to have to move out by the end of September.
Both Moray and Aberdeenshire councils have said that they sympathise with the plight of the couple – but insist there is little they can do to help because of a shortage of suitable homes.
Mrs Mackie told insideMoray: “Alan’s health was not good as were cramped in a flat that has one and half rooms, a small kitchen and a bath – but the internal stairs are very steep and he cannot get up them.
“We were offered a lift but it is not our house and in any case the landlord is selling the flat so we have to be out by September 30 – although he has said he will not put us on the street, he does need to sell his flat. He has been waiting for us to get a house but with the council not moving ahead with our application he had to serve us a notice to quit – he is very sad he was made to do that.”
The couple were told by council officials in Aberdeenshire to ‘widen their choices’ but Mrs Mackie said that they needed to be close to Alan’s family and that was why they were seeking accommodation in Inverurie, Ellon or Elgin.
As Mr Mackie can no longer work and had to go on benefits when his statutory sick pay ended – they have met with a serious problem in finding new private accommodation as most owners will not rent privately to DHSS clients.
Mrs Mackie said: “Alan worked for Aberdeenshire Council for 33 years and had an outstanding record – he never missed a day’s work. It is sad when you work for someone for that long and no one has been in touch when you are faced with such a situation – nobody came to see how he is or even made a phone call.”
A spokesman for Moray Council confirmed that they were only recently made aware of the seriousness of Mr Mackie’s condition: “His housing application was made in March of last year but it is only within the last few weeks that we received a medical assessment that dramatically increased the number of points to which they are entitled.
“Consequently they are well placed in terms of their position on the waiting list – unfortunately, it is difficult to predict when a suitable property might become available in the areas which they have stated as their preferences.”
Aberdeenshire Council said that they would not comment on individual cases, adding that there were far more urgent and high priority applicants than properties available.
Mrs Mackie has launched a petition with the UK Government and is appealing for people to sign that and help their situation.
Mr Mackie is a staunch Rangers supporter – friends and fellow fans have already raised £1310 to help him make a dream trip to Ibrox Stadium for one last time later this month.