1. ITV Report

Woman with 'locked-in' syndrome say she feels forgotten by the NHS

Michelle Wheatley with her children Holly, 5, and Ryan, 7 Photo: Simon Pendrigh

The family of a young mum left paralysed by so-called locked-in syndrome says she feels forgotten after health bosses stopped her regular physiotherapy.

Michelle Wheatley, 30, was bathing her baby daughter in 2008 when she suffered a stroke which left her unable to move.

Although her mind works perfectly she is only able to communicate by blinking. Initially, Michelle received weekly physiotherapy sessions.

They were then reduced to fortnightly sessions, but in recent months it has increasingly been left to her carers. Stockport NHS bosses say the shift is part of Michelle's long-term rehabilitation plan, and has nothing to do with funding cuts. They say her care plan will be continually reviewed.

But Michelle's mum Linda, 61 said: "We fear that if she doesn't get regular physio from trained professionals Michelle will seize up completely and be very unhappy."We've now been told that it's going to passed into the hands of her carers. They are there to take her out and do her hair, how can they know about physiotherapy after a couple of sessions to show them how it is done?

"When we used to visit her she would be in a chair but now she's usually in bed, I think she has less energy because she's not being made to move around more. It feels like she has been forgotten."

– Michelle's mum Linda

Since the stroke, Michelle has learned to use her eyes to communicate with her children Ryan, seven, and Holly, five.

Using this technique, she told the M.E.N: "I am not happy at all about the amount of physio I am getting. "I need more so my muscles don't seize up like before - at least twice a week would be good. I feel very frustrated at the lack of physio and speech and language therapy I get. The care I get from the home is good and everybody is brilliant with me but I want to look to the future to get my own home and live independently.

"The support of my carers has changed my life for the better but I do feel I need more."

Michelle, a former dental nurse from Offerton, has lived at Bowerfield Court in Disley for two years. She has 30 hours of support from carers every week. A Stockport NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said:

"There has always been a long-term rehabilitation plan for Michelle. This includes employed carers being trained to provide exercises to maintain Michelle's range of movement and comfort.

"Rehabilitation plans are always based on the needs of the patient, not funding, and are discussed with patients and their families. A consultant in rehabilitation medicine is to review the rehabilitation needs of Michelle."