Cambridgeshire County Council warns ‘the worse case scenario is that older people’s lives end sooner than they would have done or they die in a setting that they would not have chosen’ if cuts approved
- Credit: Archant
A senior council worker warned of the “worse case scenario” in Cambridgeshire where budget cuts could mean “older people’s lives end sooner than they would have done”.
The warning is contained in a community impact assessment looking at a £1.184 million reduction in the care for up to 7,000 elderly residents.
These are the people whose care is funded fully or partially by the council – and the cash available to do that is being cut.
Head of service Jackie Galwey warns: “These changes will have a direct impact on older people who through disability and frailty are eligible for support.
“There may be a disproportionate impact on older people with low incomes who are unable or unwilling to seek and accept help and support from their families or wider community and are reliant on council support.
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“The worse case scenario is that older people’s lives end sooner than they would have done or they die in a setting that they would not have chosen.
“Also that their quality of life is poorer than it would otherwise have been due to reductions in the amount of care provided.”
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Ms Galwey has prepared the report for councillors and says to achieve the required savings “the number of people supported must remain close to this level and overall costs must reduce. This is despite the known demographic projections and action taken to reduce the council’s contribution to meeting the person’s needs.”
She says “every opportunity will be taken to prevent, delay and reduce the need for ongoing care and that the older people’s teams will be operating within a closely monitored monthly allocation.”
Consequences will mean more support will be expected from families and the wider community, older people can expect the care plans to be reviewed, and older people “may not receive the care they think the need and/or may experience a delay in accessing care if the teams’ allocation for the month has been exceeded”.
She says this may mean old people living at home “could temporarily experience a much higher level of risk that could have serious or life threatening consequences. It could also result in older people staying longer in suboptimal care settings or being delayed in hospital increasing the risk of adverse events or deteriorating health”.
Ms Galway says the positive impact of the proposals is managing the council’s budget effectively but the negative impact is likely being on “outcomes for older people, their carers and their quality of life”.
Councillors have yet to vote on the cuts which form part of a wider package of savings outlined by the council last week.