Vulnerable adults will be left 'isolated' by day care cuts

Parents are protesting potential cuts to their children's day care services.

“It’s not just numbers on a spreadsheet, it’s people’s lives.”

Parents of vulnerable adults with learning disabilities are protesting potential cuts to their day care services.

Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership wants to merge Milldale and Mirin day centres in a bid to address a £14.7m gap in the budget.

But parents say plans would have a devastating impact.

They held a protest in Paisley on Friday morning as councillors and NHS chiefs discussed the proposals.

One parent said the change would leave dozens of vulnerable adults completely isolated.

Speaking for her daughter Gillian, Linda Murray said: “She (Gillian) loves it. It is her reason for living.

Linda Murray and her daughter Gillian.

“When her centre closed during Covid, Gillian became mute, she reverted to Makaton.

“33 of her friends will lose the service altogether, that’s 33 people in isolation.

“We’re out here fighting. This is people, this is lives, this is families they are affecting.”

Another parent said she was concerned how her daughter would recover from the impact any cuts to service provision would have.

Lesley Orr, mother of Katie, said: “It’s an amazing experience for my daughter.

“When she is there, she is the happiest she is all week.

“It’s her lifeline. If there are changes, I’m concerned she won’t come back from them.

“If there is nowhere to go, what happens to her?

“It’s not just numbers on a spreadsheet, it’s people’s lives.

“My daughter is one of them and I will shout for her as long as I can.”

Laura Mitchell and her mother Alice.

Alice Mitchell, mother of Laura Mitchell, said: “They are taking a service away from some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“We feel we must be the voice of our disabled sons and daughters.

“They can’t speak for themselves, that’s why we’re here today.

“It’s vital for Laura, it’s almost like her workplace.

“It’s vital for me as a carer and my mental health.

“Anyone in supported accommodation will no longer get a service and that is heartbreaking.”

The social care provider says it is still to make final calls on any changes to services.

A spokesperson from Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) said: “Integration Joint Boards (IJBs) have a duty to set a balanced budget – and Renfrewshire HSCP Officers are working hard to identify areas where we can make recommendations to address the current budget gap.

“We are looking across all HSCP services to identify savings, but the initial proposals we have put forward for consideration represent areas where we believe we can safely make our existing service models more efficient. We fully understand why many people are worried about the future and are conscious of the unrest any changes might cause.

“No decisions have yet been made on any proposals that are currently being considered. We are currently undertaking a period of engagement with our service users, residents, families and carers – as well as with our HSCP staff and other relevant stakeholders.

“Our engagement approach has been designed to give people choice in how and when they can contribute to the discussion and will be used to inform the EQIAs, impact assessments and final recommendations that IJB Members will be asked to consider at its meeting in March.”

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