Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
184 could lose out under York care cuts. - 200 others sent wrong letters
NEARLY 200 social care recipients, some of whom need help bathing or cooking, face having their care cut under new council plans.
City of York Council is set to rubberstamp changes that will mean its community care service is available only to those with substantial or critical needs, rather than those with “moderate” needs.
The council said the move was essential to balance its books, and said 83 per cent of councils around the country took a similar approach, but York Older People’s Assembly said it was “disappointed” by the decision.
Vice-chairman Bob Towner said he feared the cuts would be counter-productive and urged the council to work with NHS bodies to redistribute resources.
The council estimates 184 care recipients could be affected by the cuts, and has also apologised to 200 residents after sending them letters containing the wrong information about their designation.
Kathy Clark, the council’s assistant director for adult assessment and safeguarding, said: “This did cause distress and was highly regrettable. The error was corected as soon as it was discovered.”
Ms Clark’s report, which details the changes and impact, will be considered next Wednesday by Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, cabinet member for health, housing and adult social care.
Under the changes, those with moderate needs would be supported by alternative arrangements, rather than personal social care budgets and services from the council.
Moderate needs range from check-up visits to advice and support with shopping, bills and paperwork, daytime activities, help showering or bathing and help with meals.
Ms Clark’s report said census data released this month showed the number of people aged 85-89 in York had increased by 30 per cent in the past decade, and the number of over-90s by 34 oper cent.
Pete Dwyer, the council’s director of adults, children and education, said “While we would prefer not to have to change the eligibility criteria if the financial and demographic pressures did not require it, we want to use this as an opportunity to help our residents shape greater investment in preventive, user-led and community-based support.”
The council said more than 1,200 people took part in a consultation on the changes, “an exceptionally high response rate” for such surveys, and said most people accepted the council would need to change its criteria to protest those most in need.
The council has said no support would be withdrawn from any individual without a formal review of their needs with a social care officer.
A spokeswoman said an extra £150,000 a year had been earmarked in the council budget for preventive and community support, to increase options for those who will lose their current support.
In a letter to Ms Clark, Mr Towner, of the Older People’s Assembly, wrote: “We have consistently argued, supported by extensive research evidence nationally, that low-level interventions at modest cost haev sustained older people’s independence for longer and reduced demand on expensive secondary care in hospital.”