Cuts would be “a bitter pill to swallow”

Carers fear adult social care ‘will not be fit for purpose’ after £9.2m cuts
CARERS have expressed major concerns over cost-cutting which could see support slashed for 3,363 of the county’s disabled adults.

Lincolnshire County Council currently assesses 10,902 individuals using a four-tier system, with help provided for those with “critical”, “substantial” and “moderate” needs.

But as part of efforts to save more than £9.2 million from the £140 million adult social care budget, the authority wants to withdraw assistance for those in the “moderate” band.

Retired printer Vic Mason, 70, whose wife suffers from vascular dementia, said the cuts would be “a bitter pill to swallow”.

“Adult social care will not be fit for purpose,” said Mr Mason, a parish councillor from Kirkby-cum-Osgodby, near Market Rasen, who has attended one of the Total Voice focus groups to discuss the proposals.

“The frail, elderly, infirm and disabled will be denied services they need and that seems a little bit more than wrong.

“Yes, times are hard, but it’s too bitter a pill to swallow when county councillors are discussing increasing their own allowances.

“They should be using that money to help people who are going to lose out in the moderate band.

“In my opinion it stinks – councillors shouldn’t even be looking at a standstill in allowances, they should be cutting back like everybody else.”

Jo Mead, head of adult social care at Lincolnshire County Council, said she appreciated carers and disabled people were worried but the authority would not leave anyone at risk.

“Currently, there are 3,200 people in the ‘moderate’ band and I know people are really concerned about what happens if we remove services,” she said.

“But that is why it is key to hear opinions on all the proposals.

“Each local authority, through national guidelines, is required to make a policy decision on providing support and currently we say we’ll support people in the ‘moderate’ risk band – but we don’t have to.

“However, when we change policies we must ensure people are not left at risk and in order to be reclassified you’ve got to be reassessed.

“Nationally, the evidence is some people in the ‘moderate’ band will be reassessed and found to be of ‘substantial’ or ‘critical’ needs so they will not lose out.”

Ms Mead said, so far, turnout at the evening consultations had been poor, but more than 100 people had attended the first four focus groups to make their voices heard.

The fourth and final consultation evening takes place from 6pm to 8pm at the South Holland Centre in Spalding on Thursday, April 7.

Consultation focus groups are also being held across the county, with the next events in Horncastle and Louth tomorrow. For more information, call 01522 506580.

http://www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk/news/Carers-say-cuts-bitter-pill-swallow/article-3391908-detail/article.html

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