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Successful Suitability Review for someone with sickle cell disorder

Severe medical conditions need to be taken into account when a local authority provides a housing allocation. Where accommodation is unsuitable, this can be challenged by asking the council to review the decision (known as a section 202 suitability review).

Rajea Sultana acted for a lady with sickle cell disorder, a condition in which someone suffers anaemia and episodes of severe pain (known as a crisis). The pain occurs when the cells change shape causing blockages in the small blood vessels.

A crisis needs to be treated with strong painkillers such as morphine to control the pain, and people with sickle cell are at risk of complications such as stroke, acute chest syndrome, blindness, bone damage and priapism. Damage can occur to organs such as the liver, kidney, lungs, heart, and spleen, so timely treatment is important. Further information is available at

Our client, who had been homeless, was offered temporary accommodation which was not suitable on medical or social grounds. The property was a studio flat on the 1st floor of a hostel.  The property has a front security door which requires someone to buzz anyone into the building. If you cannot reach the buzzer, then no one can enter including the paramedics arriving by ambulance.

When our client had these episodes, she was stuck in bed in pain and unable to answer the door and buzz to allow the ambulance staff to enter.  There were times when the paramedics had to wait for 20 to 30 minutes before the door was answered and someone let them inside the building.

Her medical condition meant that she suffered from numerous sickle cell crises which had to be managed in a specific way, and which required emergency medical interventions.  She needed privacy for treatment and recuperation after a crisis.

The layout of the property meant this was not possible, and she was subjected to degrading and humiliating treatment after she moved in. The council had not taken any of these issues into account when placing her in this accommodation.

Rajea made detailed representations to the council housing team on behalf of our client and was successful in her suitability review and the council have agreed to offer her alternative accommodation which would be more suitable for her health and medical needs.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.

Rajea Sultana


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