Controversial Care Review Axed

Controversial plans to axe social care packages for thousands of elderly and vulnerable people in Hampshire look set to be scrapped. The county’s ruling Conservative group are poised to axe a review of social care services which would have seen around 9,400 of the county’s most vulnerable residents lose their eligibility for care services such as washing, dressing and feeding. The controversial money saving plans were announced by county leaders at the budget setting meeting in February.

They would have seen thousands of people, currently assessed as being in “substantial need” of care lose their right to care services.

However, at a meeting next Friday (Oct 27) adult social care cabinet member Councillor Patricia Banks, will announce that she plans to drop the consultation process on scrapping the care service which began in September.

Chris Perry director of Age Concern in Hampshire welcomed the news of the council’s change of heart. He said: “This is tremendous news because if they had stopped helping people with substantial needs it would clearly not have helped with their quality of life and would have forced them into the critical need category.”

The news was also welcomed by the council’s Liberal Democrat opposition leader Councillor Adrian Collett. He said: “It is a massive U-turn. This proposal would have removed the right of around two-thirds of people in Hampshire for getting social care. I am delighted by the U-turn. It was absolutely critical that they had a re-think on this as the impact on people would have been truly awful. I can’t think of any decision that would have had a worse impact. What I don’t understand is why they did not realise it when they first came up with the idea.”

County Council leader Councillor Ken Thornber said that the council remained seriously underfunded by central government in social care services but he was now convinced that changing the criteria was not the way forward. He said: “While there has been widespread agreement that we should be spending our resources on those most in need or at risk, the advantages of moving to critical only are far outweighed the disadvantages.”