Service cuts proposed by council criticised in abuse investigation

Cornwall Council has angered campaigners by proposing to cut services for people with learning difficulties as it tackles a £3.6m funding shortfall in adult social care.

The council, which was criticised by inspectors following an investigation that revealed abuse of people with learning difficulties at Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust, wants to remove day centre provision for people with learning difficulties who are funded for residential care.

It also plans to introduce a £1.50 charge for transport to day services, while all adult social care services could be restricted to people with moderate, substantial or critical needs, excluding those with low-level needs.

East Cornwall Mencap, which sparked the abuse investigation by the Healthcare Commission and the Commission for Social Care Inspection, has called for services to be “properly resourced”.

In a letter to the council last week, the charity argued that the removal of day care provision from people funded for residential care would be “totally against the principles of Valuing People”.

It warned that the council’s proposal to introduce “wraparound” provision in residential settings would lead to the “poor practice” of “batch living” that did not give people a choice of services.

The charity also raised concerns that charging for transport would be “discriminatory” and slammed the proposal to narrow eligibility criteria as “short-sighted”.

The letter by Reg Broad, chair of East Cornwall Mencap, said frontline workers were “struggling” to meet their statutory duties.
He also said learning difficulties services were “in crisis” at a time when they were under “close scrutiny” from CSCI.

Broad urged the council to fulfil a recommendation of the Healthcare Commission and CSCI abuse report that services for people with learning difficulties were properly resourced financially.

A Cornwall Council spokesperson said it had not made a final decision on the proposals, which are out to public consultation.

Cornwall’s cuts for people with learning difficulties

  • Removal of day care from people with learning difficulties who are funded for residential care.
    Savings target: £147,000

  • Increasing income for domiciliary care charges, including transport to day centres.
    Savings target: £190,000

  • Removal of services for all people with low-level needs.
    Savings target: £1.9m

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