16 May 2007 09:20

A carer who runs a national support website is calling on people in the city to back a campaign for long-term care. Wendy Maxwell set up the website Chill4Us nearly two years ago and it now has hundreds of members across the UK logging on for support every day.

Now Mrs Maxwell, from Hellesdon, who has cared for her son for more than six years, is asking people to sign up to an online petition created by one of the website's members who became frustrated at the lack of care offered by the NHS for people with long-term illness.

Stephen Johnson, 52, cares for his 78-year-old mother who has chronic arthritis, emphysema, epilepsy, and has had three strokes and a heart attack.

His brother Rod, 53, is funding himself in a private nursing home because he has been refused fully funded NHS continuing care.

Rod had a massive brain haemorrhage in 2005 which left him paralysed, doubly incontinent, with peg tube in his stomach for fluids, and in constant pain due to thalamic pain syndrome.

His local primary care trust argues he does not need the continuing care, saying he is stable and his is a social need rather than a health need.

His brother said: “Tony Blair said at the Labour Party conference in 1997 that he didn't want his children brought up in a country where pensioners had to sell their homes to pay for long-term care. Since then about 700,000 homes have been sold to pay for care.

“This applies to sick people of all ages. These people have paid taxes and national insurance all their lives, then suddenly they get taxed again when they become ill by funding their own long-term care. What an absolute disgrace.

“I'm asking people to sign the petition because this could affect anybody and at any age.â€Â