THE family of an elderly woman with severe dementia have spoken of their frustration with Swindon Borough Council.

Queenie Russell, 94, lives in council-owned and run sheltered housing at George Selman Gardens in east Swindon.

Mobility problems meant she has just had a hospital-style bed put in – but her family have struggled to get the council’s waste division to take away her old one

But a phone call to the Adver appears to have ended a bureaucratic tangle involving weeks of constant phone calls and hassle.

Now the council has said it will take away the bed, but Mrs Russell’s daughter-in-law Caroline said: “I’m very pleased with the result, but it shouldn’t have taken this long. It was two weeks of constant phone calls and hassle. I lost patience in the end.”

The issue was that Caroline wanted the council to take away the bed, but to pay the lower rate for bulky collection because her mother-in-law pays no council tax and has a low income.

She said: “To get the lower rate, you have to prove she’s in receipt of council tax relief. My mother in law has been a council tenant all her life and has never paid council tax.

“She only has her pension and pays a minimal amount for her home now.”

Trying to prove Mrs Russell’s council tax status put her family into a frustrating fix.

Caroline said: “When you book the collection you have to have a six-figure code. We don’t have that. I rang and was told I had to get it from the council tax office.

"They said they could only give it to me if I gave my mother-in-law’s National Insurance number. I don’t know how to find that.

"They said to look on an old wage slip, but she’s 94 and hasn’t worked for the last 40 years, she doesn’t have a pension book, it’s just a card you hand over at the post office now.

“My mother-in-law has dementia and wouldn’t know where to find her number, even if she could understand why we needed it, and we have no idea."

Caroline contacted the Adver after a total impasse with the council.

She said: “They said nothing could be done. Some of the people I spoke to said I could be anyone trying to get the lower rate.

"But my mother-in-law lives in a council owned housing scheme. They have all her details, they know exactly how much she pays.

“I just couldn’t understand how they say they couldn’t do anything if I don’t give them a code, for which I need a number we have no way of getting. We were at the end of our tether.

“And my mother-in-law is frightened, she thinks people are sleeping in the old bed in her room, she doesn’t understand why it’s still there, and we don’t understand why it can’t be taken away.”

The council told the Adver yesterday it would collect the bed from outside Mrs Russell’s home on Monday morning.