Cuts: “I DON’T want to go back to the olden days – they were really bad.”

CUTS: Vulnerable adults fear cutbacks to care funding

MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD:  An action group has been set up by adults with learning difficulties to fight the proposed government cuts to the Supporting People Programme.  Picture: Abby Ruston

MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: An action group has been set up by adults with learning difficulties to fight the proposed government cuts to the Supporting People Programme. Picture: Abby Ruston

“I DON’T want to go back to the olden days – they were really bad.”

Those are the words of Gary Stark, 33, of Grimsby, who suffers with learning difficulties.

He is part of an action group of adults with similar problems, who fear cuts to their funding could mean a return to the now redundant long-stay hospitals.

Housing And Support Solutions (HSS), which provides homes for people with learning difficulties, has had its Supporting People Programme funding cut.

Provided by North East Lincolnshire Council and the Care Trust Plus (CTP), the funding paid for carers to look after 26 vulnerable adults living in HSS accommodation.

This will lead to the number of hours carers are available being cut and vulnerable adults being left on their own for longer periods of time.

Mr Stark fears it is a step backwards to the “olden days”, when people with learning difficulties were segregated from society in long-stay hospitals, the majority of which were closed in 2004.

He said: “I am really worried, everyone is. We don’t think there will be enough support for us and I am not happy about it at all. I don’t want to go back to the olden days – they were really bad.”

The decision to reduce funding followed an Audit Commission inspection, which found the cost of housing- related support in North East Lincolnshire was among the highest in the country.

Trevor George, 61, has epilepsy and although he is largely independent, he is scared others who are not will suffer. He said: “What if one of the people gets excited or panicky and they have a fit? They will fall on the floor and they won’t be able to get up. We need more money for people like us, not less.”

Stuart Slate, 46, is also fearful for their safety.

He said: “Because of the cutbacks, the carers will be here less and we will be left on our own for large parts of the day. It will become dangerous for a lot of us.”

All houses have been assessed by the CTP and now some adults will have their care reduced and others will stay the same. Those with epilepsy and diabetes will get the most support, including overnight provision.

Currently, the maximum number of hours of support an adult receives is 25 hours a week, but this is likely to go down, with some people receiving just five hours of care a week. It is not known if redundancies will be made from HSS, but it is “remodelling” its staffing structure.

Steve Colgan, support manager for Housing Support Solutions, said: “We are working with the supporting people team to make sure we continue to deliver a quality service. However, some of the service users struggle to understand there will be a reduction in hours and the impact it might have on their lives. We are looking at our budget and looking at ways we can cut back.”

A council spokesman said: “Following the assessments, it has been acknowledged many clients have become increasingly independent and now require less support.”

http://www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk/news/Vulnerable-adults-fear-cuts-care/article-3321908-detail/article.html

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