Vulnerable adults in Poole 'isolated and afraid'

Some vulnerable people in Dorset are living in fear after budget cuts left them without care, a report suggests.

Borough of Poole council changed the eligibility criteria for adult social care in 2010 as part of efforts to save £29m over the next three years.

The report, by Poole LINk (Local Involvement Network), said the cuts had left some people isolated and afraid.

The council said it was working with LINk to consider its recommendations when shaping services in the future.

The report, called Just another day spent on my own, said the impact of the cuts on some people was likely to result in their conditions deteriorating, meaning they would end up costing the council more in the long-run when they are referred back with increased care needs.

Disability cuts

It urged the council to help the dozens of vulnerable residents who have been unable to find alternative care, to help prevent their issues from escalating.

Louise Bate, of Poole LINk, said: "There is a real risk of increasing isolation if people aren't supported to find alternatives."

Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Brooke, who opposed the cuts, said: "They are losing support, they are losing companionship and many of them are losing a certain amount of mobility as well. It impacts not only on the individual receiving care but for the families as well."

Conservative councillor Peter Adams, cabinet holder for adult social care, said the council needed to focus its funds on the people who needed it most, but he added: "Further to the LINk report, we are contacting the 75 people no longer receiving care services to discuss their experiences with them.

"I will ensure that members of the Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee will consider the findings of the report in depth."

In a separate assessment, independent think tank Demos ranked Poole as "poor" in an analysis of disability cuts by councils across England and Wales.

The council's Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee is due to meet on 26 September to discuss its initial budget proposals for 2012/13.

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