Cornwall woman feared disabled husband would be left without help as care crisis worsens

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A woman from Cornwall feared she would be left to look after her severely disabled husband alone after a care company said they were too short-staffed to visit.

Patricia Balmbra, from Newquay, told ITV she is worried other families are suffering in the same way, and that people could die as a result.

Her husband, 79-year-old David, cannot stand or walk unaided and is incontinent and bed-bound.

He suffers from numerous conditions, including epilepsy, heart disease, kidney failure and osteoporosis.

David suffers from a range of conditions including heart disease and kidney failure Credit: Patricia Balmbra

Last week Pat was told Bluebird Care, the company which had been working with David, could no longer attend because they are so short-staffed.

"It blew me away with the shock and worry," she said.

"But I have to say, because of the situation we've got around us, I expected it to happen at some point. We know that many people are leaving the profession, and it was always in my mind that this might not last forever."

Patricia says she struggles to cope when David's carers are not there. Credit: ITV News

As she began desperately searching for new carers, Pat made a powerful video, speaking directly to those who may have left the profession, saying it could be "life or death".

Pat says she is speaking out because she knows there are other families at risk of being stranded in the same position.

"I can't imagine what's going to happen if people are left without carers," she says.

"There are times when you find out how much you need them."

Caroline Sommerville, from Bluebird Care, says the situation is 'dire'. Credit: ITV News

Companies like Bluebird say the recruitment crisis is not helped by a lack of affordable housing in Cornwall.

Registered operations manager Caroline Sommerville said: "Trying to attract people to the county is not an option anymore.

"We haven't got housing for local people, let alone people we might need to bring in for our workforce.

"The situation we're in currently is pretty dire. We've had to say to people we're really sorry but we can't continue with your care. It's awful for them to hear, and it's dreadful for those words to come out of our mouths."