A HEARTBROKEN sister was forced to leave her severely disabled brother at a Redbridge hospital after social service cuts made it impossible for her to care for him at home.

Distraught Helen Coughlan took Matthew Brook to King George Hospital after Redbridge Primary Care Trust’s decision to slash his care package from 11 to just five-and-a half hours a week, was upheld on review.

The mother-of-two is unable to look after Matthew, of Roding Lane North, Woodford Green, who is deaf, almost completely blind and is the UK's oldest survivor of keratitis ichthyosis – a rare condition which leaves his skin thick and flaky and in need of daily checks for life-threatening cancers.

Matthew, 43, also has a serious form of Aspergers syndrome, leaving him with the mental age of nine, as well as severely deformed feet meaning that he is forced to shuffle on his knees to move.

The Guardian has been fighting a campaign to get Matthew’s care package replaced since it was first cut at the beginning of 2007.

His family have appeared on ITV and BBC national news to highlight their plight and the Department of Health ordered a thorough investigation into his treatment as a result of the media interest.

Yet Redbridge Primary Care Trust (PCT) has insisted that his needs are adequately provided for by his 72-year-old mother and that he ‘does not require the expertise of registered nurses”.

Mrs Coughlan said: “They asked me who his main carer is and I told them that it’s my mother and she is ill in bed.

“I’m at my wit’s end, and feel completely let down by the system with nowhere else to go. They have given me no choice other than to put him in a home or give myself a life sentence.

“I have two teenage sons and it would be nice to be able to take a holiday with them, but at the moment I can’t.

“He doesn’t realise what is going on as he’s in his own little world. He has Autism and so gets frustrated if he doesn’t get his own way because he doesn’t understand and can throw a tantrum.”

Upon being registered at King George’s, in Ilford, Matthew was taken by ambulance to Old Church Hospital in Balham, which specialises in psychiatric care for the deaf.

His GP, Dr Sanjeeda Ahmed, of Broadway Surgery in Monkhams Avenue, Woodford Green, said she was ‘appalled’ by the decision to cut his care.

She added: “His health care needs are, in fact, increasing as his mobility is deteriorating and his sight is deteriorating.

“Every aspect of his illness is getting worse, so it’s ridiculous that his care package is being reduced.”

A joint spokesman for Redbridge Council and PCT said: “We sympathise with Mr Brook’s situation but a thorough review of his case was carried out by health and social service experts last year where it was agreed to reduce his care package in light of his assessed needs.”