Home / News / Damp housing affected girl with cystic fibrosis, doctor claims

Damp housing affected girl with cystic fibrosis, doctor claims

Apr 12, 2023Apr 12, 2023

A seven-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis is on continuous antibiotics due to repeated lung infections from their damp housing, her mother claims.

Emme's mother Carly said she had been forced to briefly move out of her house in Swindon due to damp issues.

Her consultant, Dr Paul O'Keeffe, has written to their housing association Stonewater Housing urging them to help.

Stonewater described it as a "complex case". It added: "We are listening and doing all we can to help."

The problems began in November 2021, when Carly reported a water leak to Stonewater Housing.

She said the firm was unable to find a leak, but by 31 December, the kitchen ceiling had fallen through.

The kitchen has since been repaired, but the family claim there are still problems with dust from the fresh plasterwork.

Emme's consultant at the Great Western Hospital wrote to Stonewater Housing last October urging it to tackle the unsuitable conditions.

Dr Paul O'Keeffe said: "Individuals with cystic fibrosis struggle to clear secretions from their chest and it is very important that they are in an environment that is free from dust, moulds and other particulate matter.

"I was very concerned to hear about and to see pictures of the current state of the house.

"It is clear there is mould/fungi growing on damp walls and this poses a risk to Emme's health."

Carla said Emme had been taking antibiotics continuously since October because she had a wet cough.

She also said her 12-year-old son Hayden's asthma had been "really bad" too since moving back into the house.

Stonewater Housing declined to be interviewed, but told the BBC it had visited the property more than 30 times to carry out repairs and look for signs of damp or mould.

It said it had paid for a report by a structural engineer which said there were no signs of damp or mould when he visited on 15 February 2023 and that a second report in March, from a council environmental health officer, had also found no damp or mould.

"Damp has never been identified as an issue at the property. Mould (which has many forms and a range of causal factors) has been present in the past, in very localised areas, as result of leaks and condensation," it said in a statement.

"The leaks were fixed within the required timescales and the pipework has been extensively upgraded to prevent future problems."

It said there were no "safeguarding issues flagged on our system from the NHS. We responded to their initial enquiry in November and they confirmed that they felt what we had done was reasonable," it continued.

"We take any health concerns extremely seriously and the family have twice been offered a permanent move to two alternative homes (in November 22 and February 23), both of which were declined.

"We're continuing to support Carly and are doing all we can to reach a positive resolution."

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