Elderly face squeeze on care

ELDERLY people across Suffolk today face the prospect of losing day care as part of the county's £800,000 service cuts.The county council admitted that the cuts would mean some people would lose services - and ultimately it could lead to the closure of some day centres in Suffolk.

ELDERLY people across Suffolk today face the prospect of losing day care as part of the county's £800,000 service cuts.

However the Labour opposition immediately blasted the cuts as “unnecessary.”

As revealed in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, the county council admitted that the cuts would mean some people would lose services - and ultimately it could lead to the closure of some day centres in Suffolk.

The council is to reduce the amount of day care it offers to elderly people in an attempt to cut costs.


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However it hopes that by helping people to make claims for benefit, it will enable more people to buy the care they need, including day care services.

Day care centres in Kesgrave, Woodbridge, Stutton, Stowmarket, and four in Ipswich are among those which could be affected by the cut in support.

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Also charities caring for people on behalf of the council could see their financial support cut back.

Adult care spokesman Graham Newman said: “There is a shift away from people just being given care to being given benefits so they can choose their own care provision.

“We hope to enable more people to get benefits which will enable them to buy in more services.”

Everyone who currently gets day care provided by the county council will have their needs reviewed to see whether it should still be provided.

More than £1 million in extra benefits has been claimed by elderly Suffolk residents after the intervention of county advisors working with GP surgeries.

Daphne Savage, chief executive of Age Concern Suffolk, said: “This is going to have a huge affect on the frail elderly people who are used to receiving day care.

“For example, people at our Foxhall Day Care centre getting three days of care might only now be able to get one.

“Day care is important as it might be the elderly person's only day out from the home in the week but it's also very important for the person who cares for them, often an equally elderly partner, as it's their respite.

“Our main concern now is trying to find funds from charitable trusts to help people fund the care they are losing.

“We want to maintain as many services as we can for as many people as possible.”

Labour adult care spokesman Roger Belham was caught by surprise at the announcement - and felt it went against what the council had said four months ago.

He said: “Back in February, we were told that cuts like this would be the last resort. What has gone wrong at the county council to force them into this kind of action?

“The government said it was not necessary for councils to make this kind of cuts to the most vulnerable people - why is this happening? It seems very unnecessary.”

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