‘Don’t close disability services’

Neil McHugh with son Steven at Dundas Resource Centre in Grangemouth. Picture: Michael Gillen
Neil McHugh with son Steven at Dundas Resource Centre in Grangemouth. Picture: Michael Gillen

Parents with children and young adults with a disability are pleading with the council not to close day care services in their communities.

Users of centres which provide services for younger adults are in consultation with Falkirk Council about the possibility of closing one of four facilities as part of cost-cutting that will save the local authority around £230,000.

The review of younger adults’ day services for people with a learning disability or a physical disability is in response to a range of public policy changes.

The council said it is following national policy changes which “seeks to empower people to have greater choice and control over their support”.

It is also working on a ten-year strategy, Keys to Life (2013), for “delivering improvements” for people with learning disabilities and their carers, including enhanced opportunities for living independently with equal access and participation in all aspects of community and society.

The council’s draft savings proposals said: “Transformational savings will be delivered through managing demand getting prevention right, diverting more people away from formal paid service, through reablement.

“The approach to savings will be enabled and supported by implementation of revised eligibility framework, operating tighter criteria and offering lower cost packages of care to meet need where that is appropriate.”

Users of the day services in centres across the district are angry over the proposed cuts, which include the possibility of one of the four facilities ceasing to provide the services and have taken part in a consultation organised by a private company.

Neil McHugh, whose son Steven suffered a brain tumour and now uses the service at Dundas Resource Centre in Grangemouth, said: “Steven loves coming here, it is a lifeline for him and other family members.

“We had a meeting recently with the external consultant who talked us through the responses to the consultation, but many of us felt the responses were not representative to what either we as users submitted, or even some of the staff.

“Some of the users were visibly distraught on the day. Myself and others feel that this is a callous and scandalous way to save money at the expense of people with disabilities.”

A council spokesperson said: “We are carrying out a review of day services for younger adults which has involved users, parents and other key stakeholders during a significant consultation process.

“The review is a result of national policy changes and aims to provide greater choice and improve the services we provide currently and better meet the needs of service users.

“We are currently sharing the views gathered during the consultation exercise and are preparing a report for the Integrated Joint Board.”

Anyone aged 18-64 with a physical disability due to illness or injury may be referred to day care centres in the district by social work staff, a GP or hospital staff.

The centre’s services can help improve physical abilities through rehabilitation, training opportunities, education, respite and social activities.

For more information on help with a physical disability call (01324) 504304.