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Care home and day centre cuts ‘like watching motorway pile-up in slow motion’

PUBLISHED: 06:45 18 December 2014

James Fitzpatrick, who has severe autism and relies on Haringey's services, with his mother Mary Langan, left.

James Fitzpatrick, who has severe autism and relies on Haringey's services, with his mother Mary Langan, left.

Archant

Disability and care groups say they are “shocked” and “devastated” at plans to close residential homes and day centres as Haringey slashes its budget by £70million.

"The next three years will feel like watching a motorway pile-up in slow motion.
You cannot cut all your services and impose a £10m cut on spending on individual care packages and residential placements without vulnerable people and their families getting very, very hurt."

Sue Hessel

They have accused the council of “abandoning” vulnerable residents with the radical proposals which include:

+ Closing three out of four day centres for people with learning disabilities and autism;

+ Shutting the Linden House social care residential home;

+ Winding down the borough’s last remaining elderly nursing home, Osborne Grove;

+ Closing down the Haven Day Centre for dementia sufferers;

+ Reducing spending on “care packages” for vulnerable adults by £9.7m.

These proposals involve slashing hundreds of staff and a quarter of social workers. The council also plans to remove funding for daytime activities in residential homes and supported housing. The changes aim to reduce reliance on expensive residential and buildings-based care and refocus resources on care in the community.

Mary Langan, from Haringey Autism Working Group, whose son James, 22, has severe autism and learning difficulties, said: “I am very worried about the future. Vulnerable adults with complex needs like my son James rely on the high levels of support in these centres.”

Sue Hessel outside Osborne Grove Nursing Home in Stroud Green. Picture: Tony GaySue Hessel outside Osborne Grove Nursing Home in Stroud Green. Picture: Tony Gay

She has written to the council along with others from the Learning Disabilites Partnership Board user group.

They write: “We are shocked and alarmed at the plans for such major cuts to services for adults with severe learning disabilities.

“These proposals represent an abandonment of the council’s commitment to protect its vulnerable residents.”

The group believes without day centres, social clubs, and supported housing, vulnerable residents will be left “isolated, anxious and lonely”.

Campaigner Sue Hessel, who holds regular coffee mornings for carers, said: “These cuts are devastating and in reality will mean they are taking away the safety net.”

She added: “The next three years will feel like watching a motorway pile-up in slow motion.

“You cannot cut all your services and impose a £10m cut on spending on individual care packages and residential placements without vulnerable people and their families getting very, very hurt.”

Council leader Cllr Claire Kober admitted she was “worried” about the effect the cuts – equivalent to a quarter of its remaining budget – would have on residents least able to fend for themselves, including those with severe learning disabilities. Haringey will have seen its funding from government cut from around £400m in 2010 to just £210m in 2018.

Changes afoot: Osborne Grove Nursing Home in Stroud Green. Picture: Tony GayChanges afoot: Osborne Grove Nursing Home in Stroud Green. Picture: Tony Gay

Cllr Kober said there was “not really an upside” to the closures. She said she understood why relatives of someone in a care home “would feel both anxious and angry,” adding: “I think my job is to work to ensure that we come up with the least worst options, the best possible options.”

She said the cuts will “remove services and resources from people who really need them”, adding: “I worry about children and adults who use our social care services. Whether that’s day care, or people who are currently in residential homes, for whom that is their home, and those who use other services they provide.

“But there is not going to be a council in the country who can make these cuts without hitting those services because that’s where our money is.”

A council spokesman added: “We want to shift from predominantly residential and nursing care to supporting people to live more independently in their own homes and communities for longer.”

+ The draft budget proposals and accompanying plans were approved on Tuesday night, triggering a month-long public consultation before finalised plans go before full council in February.

+ The consultation and a budget summary are available at www.haringey.gov.uk/strongerharingey and copies will also be available in local libraries.

Related links

+ Overview: Care homes and day centres bear brunt of £70million cuts proposed by Haringey Council

+ Haringey budget: Parking charges to rise and parks to be marketed to promoters

+ Links to the draft Medium Term Financial Strategy and details of proposed cuts/investments:

- Overview and context

- Children, young people and education

- Adult social care and health care

- Environment (inc parks and parking)

- Employment and the economy

- Housing

- Internal/corporate (inc libraries)

+ Is this the best way to help save £70million over the next three years? Get involved in the debate on Twitter @tottjournal, on our Facebook page or by emailing your views to stephen.moore@archant.co.uk.

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