Nov 12 2012 by Caitlin Black, Harrow Observer
PARENTS of children with learning disabilities are concerned about proposed cost cutting changes to services which support them and their families.
Harrow Council is changing how it provides residential services for people with learning disabilities to save an estimated £1million, towards a target of £2.25m cuts across all residential provision, by encouraging more people with learning disabilities to live independently.
This will affect all six residential care homes in the borough and some parents and carers are worried about the impact this could have on residents.
Harrow Mencap’s head of campaigning and community business, Yvonne Lee, said: “We have had quite a few parents and carers come to us about these plans. They are worried for their adult children.
“Change is a big thing, it can upset people. We are currently working with the council to make sure that users of the residential homes in the borough are being consulted properly. I think that the homes do need to be modernised, but the issue is that it is a money saving project.”
The council has six homes which cost £3.72m per year.
It is carrying out a strategic review of learning disability accommodation and a report to the council’s cabinet committee on September 13, says: “The aim is to deliver a modernised service that offers improved outcomes and excellent value for money. For some people the proposal could be very difficult, while for others it could be viewed as extremely positive and an opportunity for better outcomes. Some people may need to move to alternative accommodation more suited to their assessed needs.”
Parents of users of Bedford House in James Bedford Road, Pinner, have told the Observer they are ‘furious’ about the plans to relocate the respite centre, which has nine beds, and the day service.
The 11 long term residential beds will remain at Bedford House.
Harrow Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, health and wellbeing councillor Margaret Davine said: “The London Borough of Harrow has a target to reduce its overall spending by 30 per cent by 2015. Supporting and protecting people who are most in need is at the heart of everything that we do and we believe that by improving the way services work, and making them more efficient, we can enhance the outcomes that they are able to achieve and make them more financially sustainable.”
The review will return to cabinet in February.
n What do you think about the proposed changes? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. or call 01895 451000.