Cuts to island’s care to be phased

A COUNCIL has taken account of public anger over plans to cut thousands of hours in respite care and announced it will phase in a new service instead of introducing it in little more than a month.

Almost 1000 people on Skye signed a petition after Crossroads, a charity that has provided the service in the Highlands for more than 20 years, lost the contract and another organisation, Carr-Gomm Scotland, was selected to take over a reconfigured service.

The new tender focuses resources on more populous areas such as Inverness and Easter Ross, meaning that Skye and Lochalsh, which currently receives 7777 hours of respite care, would have their service reduced to 2882 hours.

The new service was due to come into force on October 1 but Highland Council yesterday announced the changes would now be phased in over the next two-and-a-half years to ensure continuity of the current service and enable assessments to take place to meet needs in the areas where services will increase.

Councillor Margaret Davidson, chairwoman of housing and social work, said: “This gives us time to assess the impact.

“While we will make more respite care available in many parts of the authority, it is not sensible to introduce these changes quickly, as we need to ensure needs and expectations are fulfilled in all areas. This phased approach will allow continuity of services.”