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Think again call on social care cutback in York
ALMOST 200 York residents will find out next week whether a council decision to cut their social care support is to be rethought.
City of York Council has agreed to stop its community care service being available for 184 people with “moderate” needs – which can include help with bathing, shopping and bills – so it can save £390,000 a year, saying funding cuts and the city’s ageing population have forced the move.
The changes would mean only residents classed as having “substantial” or “critical” needs will be eligible, although the authority says £150,000 of the savings will be used to provide alternative care.
However, organisations which support elderly people in York have criticised the Labour-run council’s decision, which has now been called in for more scrutiny by the Liberal Democrat group.
They claimed a consultation exercise on the proposals was “misleading” and “poorly conducted”, with 200 residents being sent the wrong information – for which the council has apologised – and a low response rate meant only one in five people who were sent consultation packs agreed with the changes.
The council said 3,700 packs were issued and 1,234 responses – 32 per cent – were received, which officers described as “very good”.
Of those who took part, 61.8 per cent said eligibility levels should be changed “to protect those people with higher needs”, with the biggest fear among those who disagreed being that withdrawing care for people in the “moderate” category would lead to their condition deteriorating.
York Older People’s Assembly has said it is “disappointed” by the changes, while notes from an emergency consultation event staged by York Independent Living Network – which will go before next week’s meeting – said the error with some of the information sent to residents had caused “much anxiety”, the questionnaires were “impossible to answer” and the council’s consultation exercise had been “meaningless”.
The authority has said residents affected will be fully assessed and have the right to appeal against their assessment, and its social care plans are in line with those introduced by other councils.
The scrutiny committee will decide whether to confirm the original decision or refer it back to the council’s cabinet for reconsideration.