Anger over wardens cuts

CONCERNED: Chelmsford Court resident Grace Thomas, centre, with her daughter Megan Straight and son-in-law Robert Straight. Picture: John Anyon. 0214490302

CONCERNED: Chelmsford Court resident Grace Thomas, centre, with her daughter Megan Straight and son-in-law Robert Straight. Picture: John Anyon. 0214490302

First published in News

OLD people will end up as badly off as they were in the dark days of Dickens if they lose the wardens who are their lifeline, says the daughter of an elderly woman who lives in sheltered housing.

Megan Staight is deeply concerned about the future of her mother’s care following proposed cuts which could have a dramatic impact on the warden service in Worcester. Her mother, 85-year-old Grace Thomas, has lived in sheltered housing in Chelmsford Court, Ronkswood managed by Worcester Community Housing (WCH) for the last nine months.

The cuts, still subject to a consultation which ends on Tuesday, January 21, could see WCH, which manages the wardens, lose its entire £630,000 grant. The cash is spent on wardens, calls, wellbeing checks and advice for around 1,505 tenants deemed vulnerable. The cuts are the result of a proposal by Worcestershire County Council to slash investment in supporting people from £15 million to £6.5 million, part of £98 million of cuts that must be made by 2017.

Mrs Staight hit out at the cuts today, the day of a series of consultation meetings organised by WCH and Worcestershire County Council at three venues across the city – Bilford Court, Chelmsford Court and Himbleton House. A further meeting is taking place tomorrow at the Hive between 10.30am and 12.30pm.

Mrs Staight of Canterbury Road, Ronkswood, said: “They ought to be increasing the funding, not decreasing it. The people in Chelmsford Court are very frail and a lot of them have illnesses. “I am able to care for my mum but a lot of the other people have to rely on the wardens and it looks like the wardens are to bear the brunt of the cuts. “They have to rely on emergency pull cords which I don’t think is satisfactory anyway. This Government is cutting more and more.

“It’s as if we’re going back to Dickensian days. Soon it will be the workhouse again. “I feel the older people are being treated as a nuisance, like they’re not worth looking after. I don’t rely entirely on the wardens but there are others who don’t have family in this area.

“They are totally on their own with just the wardens to help them. I’m suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and I can’t be there as much as I would like to be and my husband has asbestos-related long problems. My mum is frightened. My mum is a vulnerable woman. They are all vulnerable there. There are a couple of people there aged in their 90s.”

Mrs Thomas is on the warden scheme and they call in on her every day in the morning and, if Mrs Staight requests it, they can also call on her mum in the evening. Mrs Staight said her mum, who needs a walking aid to get about, had already fallen several times and was found on the floor by her carer and one of the wardens.

Concerns have also been raised by the champions of older people like Worcestershire Pensioners Action Group about the impact of such cuts, particularly in the wake of the death of William Collins, aged in his 80s, who was found dead at Lincoln Green in Worcester on August 23 last year. Some residents, judging from the smell and the number of flies, suggested he could have been dead for up to a month before his body was found and he was so badly decomposed he had to be identified by DNA. Ron Chambers and Brian Hunt of the Worcestershire Pensioners Action Group say this is further evidence of the importance of the wardens.

Helen Scarrett, housing and customer services director at WCH, said: “The proposed cuts will obviously have an impact on our much-valued services for older people, which is why we are encouraging all our customers to go along to the county council organised consultation sessions and make their views known.

“We are teaming up with other service providers in the county to have our say and to do all we can to influence how key services for older and vulnerable people will be funded in the future”

£29 budget cuts and council tax soars 1.9% page 5

Comments (9)

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6:19pm Tue 7 Jan 14

SallyS2014 says...

The same thing is happening in Bromsgrove (Bromsgrove District Housing Trust). Three meetings are arranged for January 16th, but you have to ask for a place at the meetings. The letter about warden services and the emergency 'careline' is very vague with no detail of how one might qualify for whatever will remain of these sorely needed (and deserved) support services.
These short meetings are not sufficient to constitute 'consultation'.
The same thing is happening in Bromsgrove (Bromsgrove District Housing Trust). Three meetings are arranged for January 16th, but you have to ask for a place at the meetings. The letter about warden services and the emergency 'careline' is very vague with no detail of how one might qualify for whatever will remain of these sorely needed (and deserved) support services. These short meetings are not sufficient to constitute 'consultation'. SallyS2014
  • Score: 5

6:44pm Tue 7 Jan 14

Wagtail59 says...

The last election was about the deficit and how severe cuts in public spending should be. The Conservative party option prevailed. The Government has promised more 'austerity' cuts so expect more of the same. Makes you wonder what you pay taxes for.
The last election was about the deficit and how severe cuts in public spending should be. The Conservative party option prevailed. The Government has promised more 'austerity' cuts so expect more of the same. Makes you wonder what you pay taxes for. Wagtail59
  • Score: 4

7:10pm Tue 7 Jan 14

the batshake says...

From what I can see our tory overlords in Westminster and the bunch of corrupt, self serving, lying idiots who govern us locally want the same thing. I'm sure they would all be very happy if, as soon as people retired they died so as to save this great country(?) we live in a few quid. The welfare of vulnerable people is in no way important to them, the bottom line and their own jobs and security are the only things that matter to them. I personally hope that the people who are putting these cuts through have an awful old age racked with disease, loneliness and misery, those hopes however are tempered by the knowledge that they will have feathered their nests quite nicely, at our expence, and are unlikely to suffer in any way.....still, no harm in hoping.
From what I can see our tory overlords in Westminster and the bunch of corrupt, self serving, lying idiots who govern us locally want the same thing. I'm sure they would all be very happy if, as soon as people retired they died so as to save this great country(?) we live in a few quid. The welfare of vulnerable people is in no way important to them, the bottom line and their own jobs and security are the only things that matter to them. I personally hope that the people who are putting these cuts through have an awful old age racked with disease, loneliness and misery, those hopes however are tempered by the knowledge that they will have feathered their nests quite nicely, at our expence, and are unlikely to suffer in any way.....still, no harm in hoping. the batshake
  • Score: 15

8:49pm Tue 7 Jan 14

worcswolf says...

totally agree my mother lives in one and the reality is that cuts will always affect someone. The thought of elderly persons alone vulnerable and no way of getting help in their hour of need. shocking the way the elderly are looked after these are the most vulnerable and should have services protected.
totally agree my mother lives in one and the reality is that cuts will always affect someone. The thought of elderly persons alone vulnerable and no way of getting help in their hour of need. shocking the way the elderly are looked after these are the most vulnerable and should have services protected. worcswolf
  • Score: 17

12:56am Wed 8 Jan 14

Jabbadad says...

There is one action to take DON'T VOTE TORY again these NASTY Tories are attacking our elderly and most vulnerable on all fronts.
And I care not that my rants about what is happening upsets some Tories on here, because many of our older people have NO ONE to stand up for them, and to take away their support which allows them to live in sheltered Housing and some in their own homes is as low as anyone can get.
This is what you are getting from the County Councilors such as Geraghty, Bayliss, Prodger, Roberts, Adams, Banks, Mr Blagg, and Mrs Blagg ,Campion, Davies, Eyre, Gretton, Hardman, Holt, Pollock, Smith, and any others who stoop so low.
There is one action to take DON'T VOTE TORY again these NASTY Tories are attacking our elderly and most vulnerable on all fronts. And I care not that my rants about what is happening upsets some Tories on here, because many of our older people have NO ONE to stand up for them, and to take away their support which allows them to live in sheltered Housing and some in their own homes is as low as anyone can get. This is what you are getting from the County Councilors such as Geraghty, Bayliss, Prodger, Roberts, Adams, Banks, Mr Blagg, and Mrs Blagg ,Campion, Davies, Eyre, Gretton, Hardman, Holt, Pollock, Smith, and any others who stoop so low. Jabbadad
  • Score: 12

8:14am Wed 8 Jan 14

green49 says...

I WARNED YOU WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN the SP budget is cut to £4 mill not £6.5, thats a fact,
The consultations are a joke as the two people who have been instructed to do them and are very experienced have been HEAVILY censored in what they can say and they cannot tell you the true facts or they will be sacked, thats a fact too, A disgrace as they have so much expertise in this field and yet they are seeing what they helped to do by getting people off the streets cut to ribbons.
The government are the main blame then the TORY YES men on the WCC are next but to issue to the taxpayer pure LIES about the services YES LIES should see the Council sacked,
Jabbadad is quite correct and so are the comments above by others.

WHY does the WCC want to cut a service from one provider 9I wont name the company as its confidential) that costs next to nothing to the taxpayer so that service then has to be part of social services costing hundreds of thousands of pounds? it beggars belief, MR HARLING who is the main culprit here for cutting the services is a joke he has almost NO knowledge of how services and care actually work at all.HE is making the decisions.

When the elections come around GET EM OUT although it will be too late so everyone who has anyone in care or is vunerable and needs help get off YOUR BUTTS and complain to the council and MPs and anyone else you know to stop this descimation of the NHS and care services.
I WARNED YOU WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN the SP budget is cut to £4 mill not £6.5, thats a fact, The consultations are a joke as the two people who have been instructed to do them and are very experienced have been HEAVILY censored in what they can say and they cannot tell you the true facts or they will be sacked, thats a fact too, A disgrace as they have so much expertise in this field and yet they are seeing what they helped to do by getting people off the streets cut to ribbons. The government are the main blame then the TORY YES men on the WCC are next but to issue to the taxpayer pure LIES about the services YES LIES should see the Council sacked, Jabbadad is quite correct and so are the comments above by others. WHY does the WCC want to cut a service from one provider 9I wont name the company as its confidential) that costs next to nothing to the taxpayer so that service then has to be part of social services costing hundreds of thousands of pounds? it beggars belief, MR HARLING who is the main culprit here for cutting the services is a joke he has almost NO knowledge of how services and care actually work at all.HE is making the decisions. When the elections come around GET EM OUT although it will be too late so everyone who has anyone in care or is vunerable and needs help get off YOUR BUTTS and complain to the council and MPs and anyone else you know to stop this descimation of the NHS and care services. green49
  • Score: 8

11:11am Wed 8 Jan 14

jb says...

THe elderly, disabled and vulnerable are all at the bottom of the 'priorities' pile with social services. It's no longer person centred, it doesn't matter what needs a person has as these can easily be diluted and reduced when completing assessments to suit the budget rather than ensure people have the correct and safe amount of care support. There is no forward thinking with WCC they are focusing on balance sheets so much they've lost sight of the job they're supposed to do. I dread to hear of it but the first elderly or vulnerable person so suffer an injury or worse due to cuts will be the subject of. 'serious case review' no doubt or as a lot of people I know prefer to call them 'sweep it under the carpet review'. They, social series think they are untouchable, above question so I believe they have a few harsh lessons to learn in the near future. There are decent people working within the service but they are forced to do their job with their hands tied behind their backs. It's not just the future that is bleak its the present too.
THe elderly, disabled and vulnerable are all at the bottom of the 'priorities' pile with social services. It's no longer person centred, it doesn't matter what needs a person has as these can easily be diluted and reduced when completing assessments to suit the budget rather than ensure people have the correct and safe amount of care support. There is no forward thinking with WCC they are focusing on balance sheets so much they've lost sight of the job they're supposed to do. I dread to hear of it but the first elderly or vulnerable person so suffer an injury or worse due to cuts will be the subject of. 'serious case review' no doubt or as a lot of people I know prefer to call them 'sweep it under the carpet review'. They, social series think they are untouchable, above question so I believe they have a few harsh lessons to learn in the near future. There are decent people working within the service but they are forced to do their job with their hands tied behind their backs. It's not just the future that is bleak its the present too. jb
  • Score: 2

3:08pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Ron Chambers says...

Having attended meeting at Bilford Court today may I applaud the users of these services who spoke up about these cuts.They were not interested in all the blinding figures that were being talked about, only what is going to happen to them. Majority felt that their lifeline is being taken away ,it is not a case on preference on care line or wardens they need both .MAY I APPLAUD JABBADAB ON HIS COMMENTS IF NAMED PEOPLE DONT LIKE IT TUFF.
Hope these people realise their seats are in jeopardy or will the jump out first prior to elections.
Having attended meeting at Bilford Court today may I applaud the users of these services who spoke up about these cuts.They were not interested in all the blinding figures that were being talked about, only what is going to happen to them. Majority felt that their lifeline is being taken away ,it is not a case on preference on care line or wardens they need both .MAY I APPLAUD JABBADAB ON HIS COMMENTS IF NAMED PEOPLE DONT LIKE IT TUFF. Hope these people realise their seats are in jeopardy or will the jump out first prior to elections. Ron Chambers
  • Score: 4

7:21am Fri 10 Jan 14

green49 says...

EVERyONE IN CARE OR SHELTERED MUST ASK TO BE ASCESSED, the WCC has to do it and with around 20,000 using the services the WCC will not like that, its a legal obligation for them to do it, it will throw a spanner in the works and they should TELL you its what you are entitled too, but they wont.
EVERyONE IN CARE OR SHELTERED MUST ASK TO BE ASCESSED, the WCC has to do it and with around 20,000 using the services the WCC will not like that, its a legal obligation for them to do it, it will throw a spanner in the works and they should TELL you its what you are entitled too, but they wont. green49
  • Score: 1

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