GP fears for vulnerable after Home Help cuts

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An Angus doctor has hit out at cuts Angus Council is making to its Home Help service which provides care at home for the elderly and disabled

The council announced in April that, in a £755,000 cost-cutting move, the service will be axed at the end of October.

The users of the service will now receive Self-Directed Support (SDS) funding whereby they can choose how their support is provided within their individual budget.

Dr Kristien Hintjens, partner GP at Townhead Medical Practice in Montrose, says she fears that with the loss of the service, the care received will not be regulated because it will be provided by a third party.

Dr Hintjens said: “I believe it will mean vulnerable people will no longer be able to stay in their homes. It is going to mean more people will be going into hospital and care homes. The council is only looking at the short-term and not at the long-term effects cutting the service will mean.”

Dr Hintjens said she understands that a council-run laundry service in Brechin which undertakes special cleaning requirements for people needing help in their homes, will also be axed.

She said: “There is no alternative in Angus to this service. The council could charge the users a couple of pounds a week or tender it out, so the service can keep running.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Current service users will receive a Self Directed Support (SDS) assessment and may choose to purchase home support through their SDS delivery package. Angus Council will not be a provider of home support from October 2015. Discussions are ongoing to explore the feasibility of home support being a social enterprise development following cessation of the council service.”