Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Susie Rowbottom featured on Tory Council Care Cuts report on BBC

Tory Council care cuts. BBC 1 6 O’clock News features Susie Rowbottom from West Sussex

Susie Rowbottom, a 41 year-old Downs Syndrome sufferer from West Sussex, was featured in a Nationwide Special Report about cuts in care support on BBC 1’s  6 O’Clock News last night. Susie is one of thousands of disabled people to lose much of their Council funded care support. Susie used to attend a day centre 5 days a week but this has been cut to one afternoon in her local library. Susie used to have 12 hours of one-to-one care support  from a social care worker, but last December West Sussex County Council also cut this support to just one 2-hour session per week – barely enough to help with her shopping, let alone sort her finances and day-to-day care needs.

Her mother, Kate Rowbottom says in the feature: “Susie’s care needs have not changed since she was last assessed 12 years ago. What has changed is the lower levels of care that West Sussex County Council now provide, and I just don’t understand it.”

Barry Pickthall from the Don’t Cut Us Out Campaign – speaking out for all Vulnerable people across West Sussex says of Susie’s situation.

“Susie’s case epitomises our worst fears for West Sussex County Council’s cuts in vital care support both for the disabled and elderly. She had been attending a day centre for 20 years which had become the focus for her life. Now she has lost regular contact with all her friends and now has nothing to motivate or stimulate her.  A Council spokesperson says that Susie is getting the right level of support and is coping well with increased independence, but the facts do not bear this out.  Susie’s weight has ballooned by 2 1/2 stone, her asthma medication has had to be increased, and her mother Kate was distraught to discover that her bed sheets had not been changed for 3 months.
The BBC Special Report highlighted the findings of  the Learning Disability Coalition Annual Survey – Social Care in Crisis – the Need for Reform published today. (see PDF attached)
The survey covered 70 Councils and 69,000 people with learning disabilities. Of these, 77% of Councils have introduced cuts in care support or introduced ‘efficiency savings’
72% of service providers reported that they had experienced a reduction in local authority funding over the last year, with over half cutting services. A further 28% had seen a freeze in local authority funding which effectively means a real terms cut in funding owing to the increase in inflation
and expenditure. Two thirds of service providers said that they were expected to provide additional support from within existing contracts but without additional funding, which creates significant additional demands on provider organisations.
Over the last year, 17% of people with learning disabilities have seen a reduction in their number of hours of support and 13% have been given less money to spend on their support.
• 18% have had their service charges increased.
• 2% of people who responded had lost their support entirely due to their local authority changing its eligibility criteria.
In West Sussex, stats published by WSCC from the first 1,600 reassessments of elderly and disabled during 2011,  show:
  • 12% of elderly people, and people with physical and sensory impairments, have been found ineligible for any services and have lost their entire care packages.
  • 54% have had their care package reduced in value, leaving them less able to cope with living independently.
  • 18% of people with learning disabilities lost their entire care package.
  • 51% of people with learning disabilities have had their care package reduced. The average cut is £40 per week (£2,000 per year) but some of the most serious cases have lost as much as £300 a week.