DISABLED people who need vital home improvements wait almost a year for the work to be carried out, it has been revealed.

Those who need stairlifts, ramps and level access showers wait an average of 144 days for an assessment visit and 197 days before builders move in.

The figures were revealed at a scrutiny meeting at County Hall where social service chiefs admitted they were “embarrassed”.

Maureen Mullaney, head of social services for adults, told the meeting: “We had recruitment challenges and I’m embarrassed to say that some people had to wait up to 400 days to be seen.

“It is also the tricky application process that can delay the work. We have to consider the long-term needs of the person, assessments of risk, environmental
factors and the need for third party information.”

The department pledged a series of measures to slash the waiting time.

The time for an assessment visit has already been cut from 144 days in February to 94 days in May.

Funding comes from a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFGs) which covers adaptations to the home costing between £5,000 and £36,000.

But Discretionary Adaptations Grant (DAGs) which covers work costing between £1,000 and £5,000, and has a simpler application process, were introduced last year and have cut the waiting time.

Other improvements in the pipeline include earlier support to applicants, pro-active home assistance and tighter controls on workmen.

“We have found it challenging, but things are different now,” added Mrs Mullaney.

“Now we have the resources to provide an acceptable service for the future. I think we have some innovative ideas to improve our service.”