Time for councillors to listen about care needs

I WRITE to you following the recent decision of Lincolnshire County Council to withdraw support funding from those unfortunate disabled folk suffering from what the council consider are moderate needs.

It has now been announced this week by Richard Collins, the head of Adult Commissioning, that the council ‘propose to stop the day services and the community supported living services we currently provide directly ourselves’.

This may lead to the loss of jobs for many devoted, skilled caring staff across the county, causing in Boston alone, the closure of all the present services, i.e. all community supported living services, and day services at Bosscat, Thistles, Field Street, Manning Court, Scott House and Kirton.

The council’s objective is to force all service users on to personal budgets, in line with Government policy, and for each individual to find outside providers for the vital services needed, in other words the privatisation of adult social caring. Many people who have already experienced the change to personal budgets have found that they are being allocated insufficient funding to purchase the level of care to meet their previously-assessed needs.

Obviously, this will lead to a decline in the safety, welfare and well-being of these unfortunate people for whom on behalf of us all, the county council have a duty of care. It is indeed a great responsibility and I fear that financial considerations are creating a grave danger of the council members taking their eyes off the ball.

Are they showing the concern and compassion to be expected of them? I know that great stress is being felt by numerous people with learning disabilities and their families, who rely totally on the help that a caring society can provide.

There is a total feeling of uncertainty of what the future holds for them. Many of these good folk have spent a lifetime caring for their loved ones and are wondering how they are going to cope with all these changes that seem to be coming so quickly. They need help.

In line with the council’s latest proposals they have launched a ‘consultation’ with all interested parties, which closes on January 9, 2012. All those involved are being asked for their views and opinions via a questionnaire.

It really is important that councillors and council officials do know their feelings and concerns, to help them make fair and considered decisions. I hope that this time councillors will have the wisdom to be persuaded to reconsider the far-reaching effects of these present proposals, before it is too late.