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Haringey social care cuts: Campaigners claim ‘vulnerable are worst hit’ in Fairness Commission report

PUBLISHED: 11:57 24 October 2018

Community march to protest against cuts in Haringey's Budget

Community march to protest against cuts in Haringey's Budget

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Angry adult social care campaigners in Haringey say service cuts have been “applied unfairly to the people least able to cope with them”.

The Save Autism Services Haringey group (SASH) fought unsuccessfully to prevent the controversial closure of three Haringey day centres for adults with complex care needs, and now say their loss has created “unfairness to users and carers”.

Two and a half years after the centres shut, figures obtained by SASH and submitted to the council’s new Fairness Commission show vulnerable adults are now receiving fewer full-day activities as part of their care provision.

Adults in supported living have seen their attendance at day centres fall most, as the council has put the onus on staff at the supported accommodation to run activities, along with a focus on trips out for service users instead of “buildings-based” activities.

According to SASH’s data, obtained from the council, of the 144 adults identified as being service users, 51 now attend day centres less during the week than they did in 2016 before the closures. The majority of those to lose out are those in supported living. And in April 2016, 90 people in residential accommodation attended in-borough, council-run day centres; this fell to just 10 in 2017.

The council said day centre provision had been replaced with day activities and trips in many of these cases.

Crouch End campaigner Mary Langan, whose son James has autism and learning difficulties, told the Broadway: “In terms of those in supported living, not getting the same day centre hours leaves people more isolated.”

The council confirmed it was set to review its social care provision, and particularly consider how to boost in-borough capacity for day activities.

SASH’s Martin Hewitt, who is also a carer, said: “What concerns me is that, of those re-assessed, there’ve been five times as many cases where people have seen their care packages reduced compared with those who have seen it increase.”

Mary added: “The cuts have had a disproportionate impact – they’ve been applied unfairly to the people least able to cope with them. Losing day centre places means there’s more of a burden elsewhere.”

In 2015, as part of a drive to save £25m from the adult social care budget, Haringey approved the closure of the two remaining day centres – Always and Birkbeck – for people with learning disabilities and the borough’s only dedicated autism day centre – Tottenham’s Roundway.

Cllr Peray Ahmet, the council’s health chief, said: “We said before the elections that we would review Haringey’s day centre provision – and this week our new redesign group will meet for the first time to put this into action.”

Cllr Ahmet said central government cuts were driving local service reductions and added: “As this continues, we will need to find new ways to meet our residents’ needs, but there should be no doubt that in Haringey we are doing all that we can to help those who need it most.”

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