Cuts to vital services put vulnerable adults at risk, say charities

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Haringey Independent: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Charities have warned that cuts to vital services in Haringey are putting vulnerable disabled adults at risk of distress and ill-health.

The Haringey Learning Disabilities Partnership Board, which represents voluntary sector organisations and carers, carried out a survey asking for people’s experience of services for disabled adults following budget cuts.

The report’s findings reveal distress over the reduction in support staff hours, deteriorating respite provision, cuts to specialised transport and cuts to pay for support staff.

The report also accuses a Haringey Council commissioner of putting a senior staff member in a provider organisation under pressure to reduce his staff’s pay to below the ‘London Living Wage’, which the council says it supports.

Services such as day centres, social clubs and supported housing currently help people with learning difficulties shop, cook, budget and pay bills, attend health appointments, and socialise.

However, carers responding to the survey expressed dissatisfaction. One said: “I’ve seen service users becoming extremely distressed due to being confined to the home too long.”

Another care worker said there was currently a lack of proper training and supervision, and that morale was low.

Carer and Partnership Board member Mary Lanagan said:  “People with learning disabilities and their family carers are among the most vulnerable in our community, whose voice is rarely heard. This survey report shows how strongly we feel about these highly valued and much needed services.”

A Haringey Council spokesman said: “We are committed to providing a first-class service for people with learning disabilities, with one-to-one support to help vulnerable adults live more independently.

“We have worked closely with service users and carers to develop personal budgets that give people the freedom to choose the right services for their needs.

“During the last six years, we have invested an extra £10.4million into learning disabilities services, and in this year’s budget agreed another £3.9m of investment during the next three years.”

The Haringey Learning Disabilities Partnership Board is made up of representatives from People First, Haringey Mencap, Haringey Autism and Markfield, along with local carers.

They say just under 200 responses to their survey were received from adults with learning disabilities, family carers, or staff who work in the care sector.

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