Croydon two-year-old Cameron McCaskie treated in hospital after going months without heating

Tasmin McCaskie and son Cameron

Tasmin McCaskie and son Cameron

First published in News
Last updated
Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A two-year-old boy ended up in hospital after his rented home was left without heating or hot water for two months.

Cameron McCaskie, who suffers from a blood disorder that makes him sensitive to extreme temperatures, spent two spells at Croydon University Hospital in December after the bitter winter weather left his home freezing cold.

His mum Tasmin, 22, is furious that her housing association took so long to restore the heating and hot water after the communal boiler broke down and that it refused to rehome her despite her son's medical condition.

The boiler that heated her London Road flat block broke down in November, leaving it so cold that she was forced to take Cameron to wash at his grandmother's house.

Metropolitan Housing did not install a replacement boiler until the end of January. Ms McCaskie's immersion heater, which should have provided backup suppply, was also broken.

The housing assocation said it sent engineers to fix the backup heater but that McCaskie had been unable to make the appointments.

Cameron, who has sickle cell anaemia, fell so ill during a cold snap in December that he spent three days in hospital on morphine.

He returned home after treatment, only to fall ill again and have to return to hospital. He spent Christmas at his dad and grandma's to avoid the freezing cold flat.

Miss McCaskie, who works as an administrator, said: "How can you leave a sick two-year-old freezing in a one-bedroom flat? It was so cold inside our flat when it was snowing.

"We were shivering. The residents all told the housing association but they just did not do anything about it. It is laughable.

"Cameron left the hospital feeling great, then he came back to the flat and got sick again. Every time he goes in the hospital I am scared for him. He is at risk of having a stroke."

Cameron's paediatrician wrote a letter to Metropolitan supporting Miss McCaskie's request to be rehoused, but the housing association insisted she had no valid medical grounds. 

They offered her £100 to cover the cost of powering an electric heater, but she says this is not enough.

Miss McCaskie said: "It does not matter how many times I  tell them, just do not seem to see the urgency at all. I just want to get out now. I am fed up of it."

A spokeswoman for Metropolitan Housing said: “We are very sorry that Miss Mccaskie experienced problems with her heating and hot water last November.

"The property has a communal heating system which broke down and unfortunately there was a delay in getting it fixed.

"Miss Mccaskie has an immersion heater which would have provided a back-up hot water supply but it was not working at the time. We did arrange to fix this on two occasions but Miss Mccaskie  cancelled these appointments.

“We experienced further problems with the communal heating system in January and the back-up gas boiler needed to be replaced.

"A new gas boiler was installed at the beginning of February and the scheme is now with a fully working communal heating system. Miss Mccaskie’s heating is now fully functional and we would once again like to apologise for the problems she experienced.”

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