High Peak man fears wife will end up in a care home aged 41 without vaccine

A Chinley man who cares for his double-amputee wife fears she will end up in an old people’s home at the age of 41 if he does not receive the Covid-19 vaccination.

By Ben McVay
Wednesday, 16th December 2020, 4:45 pm

Michael Abbott-Fleming has looked after wife Victoria for 15 years after she had both legs amputated above the knee.

As her primary carer devoted Michael sees to her every need 24 hours a day, seven days a week - including lifting her in and out of bed.

After the vaccine was announced this month Michael wrote to his GP requesting the jab - to avoid a ‘possible catastrophe’.

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Victoria with ever-supportive husband Michael, 54

However he was ‘outraged’ to be told by Chapel-en-le-Frith’s Thornbrook Surgery the matter was ‘out of our hands’.

At present the NHS are prioritising people aged 80 and over, those who live or work in care homes and health care workers at high risk.

Victoria has been identified by the NHS as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ and is on a priority list for the vaccine.

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With devoted husband Michael, 54

Husband Michael - as a carer in receipt of a carer’s allowance - is also included on the list.

However the couple are wracked with anxiety that if Michael is not immunised at the same time as his wife, Victoria will be left with no-one to care for her if he falls ill with the virus.

The pair now face the grim possibility that if Michael can no longer care for his wife at their home she will be moved into a care home for the elderly.

Michael, 54, said: “It seems completely senseless to me that Victoria will get the vaccine but I may have to wait.

Victoria Abbott-Fleming faces the prospect of a care home if carer husband Michael falls ill

“Without me she would need residential care at great expense to the county and the NHS - and her quality of life would fall through the floor.

“I believe this will be a massive injustice to home carers across the country and they deserve the same respect as paid carers.

“Victoria and I both know I won’t be able to cope forever and we dread that day - but until I can't physically look after her anymore I will always give the best day everyday.”

In 2003 promising lawyer Victoria slipped and fell down some steps at work.

She had contracted complex regional pain syndrome (CPRS) - a severe and debilitating condition which is usually triggered by an injury.

In the worst cases it can cause atrophy in the affected limb as the skin, tissues, and bone waste away - leading to infection and in Victoria’s case amputation.

After a severe infection in 2006 Victoria’s right leg was amputated - followed by her left leg in 2014 when the condition spread.

She still suffers constant excruciating pain all these years later and survives on 57 tablets a day.

Victoria, speaking about the vaccine, said: “Without Michael I couldn’t do what I do - and the thought of going into a care home is really worrying.

“I’m just too active for that mentally and - as much as possible - physically. I’m only 41.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed that although Michael was on a priority list for the vaccine it was not yet possible to say when he would receive it.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.