Greens plea: Don't force our vulnerable residents from their homes

Learning disability accommodation deemed not cost-effective amid Council cuts

April 18th, 2015

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Greens are urging the Labour Council to think again on proposals to outsource learning disability accommodation and care services, which could see some of the most vulnerable residents forced out of homes they have lived in for decades.

Currently, despite most learning disability care homes being provided by other providers, the Council still provides accommodation and care for 51 people with learning disabilities in-house.  Families have said these are residents with some of the highest needs in the city, with many requiring two staff to support them round the clock.

The Council is proposing to contract external organisations to provide care and accommodation in a more “cost-effective” way.  During consultation, families were presented with the option for residents to stay in their existing homes with care provided by an external provider, which were broadly favoured by families.  Yet the council has acknowledged that some smaller homes may not be considered financially viable by these organisations and residents may be forced to move after a change in provider [Health & Wellbeing Board Papers].

Consultation responses have indicated that many residents are likely to experience significant deterioration in well-being and behaviour as routines and staff change with a change in provider, which would be exacerbated where they are also forced to move.

Green councillors have called on Labour to carry out an urgent review of the plans to more fully consider the likely physical, emotional and financial impact of the changes on residents.

Green councillor and convenor of the Green Group, Phelim Mac Cafferty, said:

“We are being told by families, carers and service users that people are desperately worried about the changes being proposed to these vital services.  We are talking about some of the city’s most vulnerable residents and it is absolutely essential we get the right services in the right place.

“There is still significant uncertainty about what will happen if outsourcing is to take place, and we believe the council needs to go further in establishing what future care provision will look like before taking any decision to contract out care and accommodation services.  It is essential that the safety and well-being of residents, not the need for cuts, is central to this process.  Cutting corners at this point could risk lives and damage residents quality of life, and cost the Council far more in the long-run.

“We have received a very clear message throughout this consultation that forcing residents to move against their will could damage their health and well-being.  We are calling on Labour to guarantee that residents will not be forced from their homes under a new care provider.  If they cannot make this guarantee, it is essential that we maintain services in-house unless a better option can be found”.

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