AN 80-year-old man must drive 80 miles to see his dementia patient wife – because a Scottish city lacks the facilities to care for her.
Reg McInally has to make the round trip from Inverness to Grantown-on-Spey to see Christine, his wife of 58 years.
Reg was caring for his wife at their Inverness home until she fell, broke her hip, and needed specialist care.
Despite having a population of 63,000 and being one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe, there were no specialist care places.
The pensioner estimates he has been forced to spend £700 over the past nine months making a twice-weekly trip to Grantown.
Regular appeals to NHS Highland to move Christine, 80, closer to home have been unsuccessful.
He said: “The stress and strain of recent years has knocked the hell out of me.
“In five months Christine’s deterioration has been rapid and heart-breaking.”
He said he lived in fear that he would be unable to drive.
“The prospect of a round trip in all weather on a bone-shaking bus journey if I become too elderly to drive or cannot afford the use of a vehicle.
An NHS Highlands spokeswoman said: “There are several care providers in Inverness that provide specialist care for people with dementia.
“At this time there are no vacancies that would fully meet Mrs McInally’s needs.
“We are fully aware of the circumstances surrounding this couple and agree it is most unfortunate. We are working with the family to make sure the care is provided in the most appropriate setting for all concerned.
“This is under constant review. We recognise out policy of people being placed in the most appropriate setting can have knock-on implications for the family, but there are a number of considerations.”
She added: “While it is not appropriate for us to consider the specific circumstances there are sound reasons for the arrangements.”
By Bob Malcolm