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Vulnerable people's care provision likely to change

 
Created on 10/09/2021 @ 10:07
Care provision for the area's most vulnerable residents could look very different to how it was before coronavirus struck the world, Powys county councillors have been told.

Assurances were given at the council's Health and Care Committee that the voice of people who use these services will be heard in any future proposals.

Since the first UK lockdown in March 2020, Powys County Council's day care facilities have been closed and will remain so until at least February 2022.

This followed an updated risk assessment in July which indicated that  opening up the centres safely was still not possible.

Adult Social Care portfolio holder Cllr Myfanwy Alexander told councillors that a “wide ranging” review of the service would take place after the pandemic has run its course.

Cllr Michael Williams said: “I hope we have a robust and meaningful consultation. I really know the one in Machynlleth is valued.”

Cllr Alexander said that the intention would be to ask service users “what they want and need”.

Cllr Williams said: “I hope it will be asking and not telling them this is what we propose, and are you ok with it?

“I hope the questions aren’t leading to try and get the answers you want.”

The council’s executive director for people and organisational development, Alison Bulman, said: “We’ve had really creative ways of supporting people over the last 18 months.

“The aspiration, for all our residents be it they have a learning or physical disability or are of an older age have the opportunity to do what matters to them.

“I’m not sure what the current group of service users will want post pandemic, but I have a strong sense the people coming behind them will want something very different.

“There will be people who know what day care centres are like, but for others it will feel very alien, we have to support them to live the best possible life.”

Cllr Alexander added: “We will need to come to terms people’s attitudes have changed after Covid.

“We know that some of our older residents who were keen on gathering in big groups are now much more reluctant.

“We need to look at our services and in the context of where we are and what those people actually want today, not what they had in a pre-Covid world.”

Cllr  Susan McNicholas asked who would speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves as some are “extremely upset and don’t understand” why the centres have been closed.

Ms Bulman added: “Where someone lacks capacity there will be advocacy support to make sure we get their views.”

For those unable to give their views, Ms Bulman explained that a decision for those persons, would be made in their “best interests.”

Running day care centres as an “outreach service” is estimated to cost £186,000 this year and has been identified as a “pressure” on the department’s finances.

This financial year the council’s Adult Social Care department need to find cuts and savings of just over £5 million.

Committee chairman, Cllr Amanda Jenner wanted “to recommend” that this cost is factored into the consideration further down the line.

Head of adult services Michael Gray said that they would “look to account for all pressures” as they make their calculations as part of next year’s budget setting process.

In March 2020, 154 people attended Powys Day Centres for Older People, with 33 staff.

Powys Day Services for people with disabilities was attended by 124 people attended and had 70 staff.

The day centres are:

Park Day Centre, Newtown.
Maesywennol, Llanidloes.
Arlais Day Centre, Llandrindod Wells.
Arosfa, Brecon.
Canolfan, Ystradgynlais.
Day Centre at Bethshan, Newtown.
East Radnor Day Centre, Presteigne.
Hafal Crossroads, Machynlleth.
In September 2020, Welshpool Town Council closed the Ann Holloway Day Centre permanently, with the loss of five jobs.

 

By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporting Service