Anger As Care Staff Get The Axe

Twenty care home workers who help adults with learning difficulties are to lose their jobs. The agency staff, who all work at the Cherwell Centre in Heywood, Rochdale, have been told their contracts are up and there will be no more work. Rochdale council claims the move has come about naturally as their contract has come to an end. The council says the service will not suffer and it will save taxpayers’ cash.

But Councillor Colin Lambert claims the job cuts will have a terrible effect on those who need the most support. He said: “These savage cuts will lead to a diminished service to some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The staff, who are all agency workers and have been providing care to the most vulnerable adults in our community, have been told that their employment with the service will end today.

“Cuts to services are unpleasant at any time but it appears really harsh to announce these cuts in the Christmas period. Staff who will have been planning their Christmas will now find themselves out of work and with no money to enjoy Christmas with their families and their own children. The turkey really has been stuffed by Rochdale council for these families.

“But most alarming is the fact that these staff have provided a crucial service to adults with learning disabilities and there will be no staff to cover holidays or the Christmas and New Year period. Individual support to the most vulnerable members of our community will end when these cuts are implemented. We must monitor the impact on the service and seek an urgent review of these cuts which I believe will save just £85,000.”

The move to terminate the agency workers’ contracts comes as the service looks to move from its current base on Cherwell Avenue with the creation of two new facilities – one in Hopwood and one in Heywood.

The council claims these new facilities will ensure that people with learning disabilities have increased opportunities to interact with their community. Mike O’Keeffe, acting commissioning manager with the Learning Disabilities service, said: “We’ve reviewed the service and staffing levels and are in a position to end the use of agency resources, in total 20 part-time staff.

“At the same time we are able to reduce a significant cost at a time when we face considerable pressures. The agency and their staff were informed of this decision on November 21. This will not affect the level of service for adults with learning disabilities at the centre. Staffing levels will remain high with 11 full-time staff deployed there to enable the service to maintain quality. The service is due to relocate and although there have been some delays it is expected that the relocation will take place early in the new year.”