Mum wins fight with Bournemouth Council over care for disabled son

Mum wins fight with Bournemouth Council over care for disabled son – and calls for resignations

11:00am Friday 25th May 2012 in News  By Melanie Vass

 Lorraine Zavadil from Throop, with her severely disabled son Tariq, 28

A MUM who has spent 18 months fighting to retain her severely disabled son’s care package has forced Bournemouth council to back down.

Lorraine Zavadil, 53, took on the council after it originally tried to cut the budget for her son Tarik’s care package by almost 70 per cent.

This would have meant that 28-year-old Tarik, who has congenital cerebral palsy, epilepsy and profound learning disabilities, is registered blind and is unable to speak, would have been unable to keep his current carers, some of whom have worked with him for over 10 years.

After Lorraine appointed lawyers, the council made a further offer of a cut of 45 per cent, which was refused.

Both parties have now settled out-of-court and Tarik’s care package will now reduce by around 11.5 per cent.

Lorraine is now calling for Judith Geddes to resign as head of Bournemouth’s adult social services department and is demanding an inquiry into the matter.

She said: “I’m calling for Judith Geddes’ resignation over this issue. She proposed a 70 per cent cut, which an independent expert said could have fatal consequences for Tarik.

“Social services are supposed to prevent people from harm but she would have put him at risk and she mustn’t be allowed to do that to the next family.

“She has also made me fight for nearly two years to keep his care package, at great cost to the public purse. I would have accepted an 11.5 per cent cut on day one.

“There was no need to get barristers involved at £900 per hour. For those reasons, I think she should resign.”

Tarik lives in a bungalow in Throop, where he receives 24-hour care support from his mother and three carers, paid for by the council.

Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell argued the council’s decision-making was unlawful as it failed to assess Tarik’s needs and that it also breached his human rights. An independent report from a clinical psychologist concluded that changes to Tarik’s care arrangements could potentially worsen his disability or lead to him harming himself.

Ms Geddes, executive director for adult and community services, said in a statement: “We have always agreed that Tarik’s welfare was the priority but we also have a duty to provide appropriate care at a fair cost to the taxpayer.

“This has never been about a reduction in care provision but rather a reduction in the level of funding necessary for an agreed level of care.

“The council has never proposed anything other than a 24-hour care package for Tarik and any proposed reduction in funding was always considered following detailed assessment of Tarik’s needs, in consultation with Mrs Zavadil.

“We would reject any assertion that the decisions reached were resource-led rather than needs led.

“We always have and will continue to have Tarik’s needs firmly in our mind at every stage of decision-making regarding his care.