Highland MSP slams move to axe day care centre transport

Constituency MSP Rob Gibson has waded into the row over transport to two North day care centres for adults with learning disabilities.

Families of adults who use the Highland Council run Beachview Centre in Brora and the Isobel Rhind Centre in Invergordon, say they have been told the door-to-door transport presently provided to both units, is to stop.

Caithness Sutherland and Ross MSP Rob Gibson has now warned Highland Council that shutting down the vital bus service would be a bad move.

He was speaking in advance of a East Sutherland and Edderton ward forum meeting in Brora next Tuesday evening at which the issue is likely to come up.

Mr Gibson said the threat to the service “beggared belief” and it was important that it remained.

He said: “Highland Council must make permanent arrangements for vulnerable clients who attend day centres across the area.

“Social Work managers have willfully misinterpreted council policy to seek a withdrawal of patient transport. This must not happen.

“Highland Council must take heed of the Audit Scotland report published yesterday [Thursday 4th August] which slams health and care transport services due to their lack of coordination.”

Mr Gibson said he had called a bus summit in May amid complaints that bus company Stagecoach was failing its partially sighted and disabled customers.

He said: “The summit also involved ambulance and social work officers. They now need to get together with NHS Highland to provide the necessary transport for patients and day care centre attendees.

“It is high time Highland Council got a grip of the issue. The fears that have been raised are entirely justified.”

Mr Gibson added: “The Scottish Government has pledged to ensure all communities and groups get appropriate services to their needs. Audit Scotland has slammed the current lack of coordinated patient and day care transport.

“Highland Council had better act quickly. The current financial problems have played a negative part but local coordination between  Highland Council, NHS and the Scottish Ambulance Service is long overdue.”