Call for a national inquiry into isolation of disabled people

Capability Scotland has called for a national inquiry into the
isolation of disabled people in the community following the
discovery of a woman’s body that had lain in her home for
eight months.

Frances Gibson (52) suffered from arthritis and had not been
collecting her disability pension. Neighbours contacted a local
social worker who alerted police. On breaking into Gibson’s
home, police discovered unopened mail from Christmas last year.

Michelle Hegarty, assistant director of Capability Scotland,
said: “Too many people with disabilities are hidden in their
communities. We all believe in community care, but we must act to
ensure vulnerable people are part of the communities they live

A spokesperson for Highland Council said that Gibson was not
known to its social work department, and because her rent was paid
directly through housing benefit, the council remained unaware of
any difficulty.

Hegarty added: “When we accept how many disabled people do not
claim the appropriate welfare benefits and are unaware of the
services they receive, we accept that many vulnerable people are
living at risk in our communities unknown to any caring

Capability Scotland are calling for a Scotland-wide inquiry into
isolation, uptake of benefits and encouraging people to ask for

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