A BROMSGROVE father-of-three faces weeks of pain because he cannot leave his disabled son to have a vital operation.

Fred Rawlings went to County Hall, in Worcester, on Monday to protest at cuts in social services that mean they cannot provide five days' care for his son, Paul, while he is treated for a double hernia diagnosed 12 months ago.

Mr Rawlings, aged 61, from King George Close, Sidemoor, has already had the pain of one cancelled operation, when in January this year the Alexandra Hospital, Redditch, could not provide a bed for him during th winter flu crisis.

Worcestershire social services cancelled his operation booked for last Thursday because they cannot look after Paul, who has severe learning difficulties.

Mr Rawlings said: "When I rang the hospital, they were disgusted. Paul's 29 but he has the mind of an 18-month-old baby. He can't do anything himself, he's still in nappies.

"Sometimes he doesn't sleep at all at night. He keeps banging his head against the walls."

Worcestershire Health Authority has provided him with one night a week respite care. The rest of the time Mr Rawlings, whose wife died of cancer two years ago, has to provide round-the-clock supervision.

Carers voice officer for the Worcestershire Association of Carers, Sarah Chandler, said: "It's pretty appalling that Fred should be left to lift and bathe someone on his own when he is in so much pain."

Portfolio holder for social services, health and well-being, Cllr Peter Pinfield (Lab, Droitwich West) said Worcestershire was under-funded compared to other authorities.

"I would want Fred to have his operation as quickly as we possibly," he said.

"But nobody would thank me if at the end of the year we had to stop services. At this difficult time we are trying to protect the most vulnerable."

He said the case was being reviewed.