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Elderly in Bromley fear care cuts

PUBLISHED: 15:44 01 September 2010

BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 18:  Senior citizens attend the Fourteenth National Pensioners Parliament at Blackpool Winter Gardens on May 18 2006 in Blackpool, England.  Over 2900 pensioners attended the parliament and debated  many issues affecting Britain's senior citizens including abolition of council tax, free travel on public transport and calls for a state pension of GBP114 a week.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 18: Senior citizens attend the Fourteenth National Pensioners Parliament at Blackpool Winter Gardens on May 18 2006 in Blackpool, England. Over 2900 pensioners attended the parliament and debated many issues affecting Britain's senior citizens including abolition of council tax, free travel on public transport and calls for a state pension of GBP114 a week. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

2006 Getty Images

Elderly residents and their families have been left "shocked and horrified" by council plans to change their home care services.

Staff have voted unanimously to protest against the plans which could see up to 146 part-time carers employed by Bromley council axed as it outsources all of its domiciliary care to private companies.

Following the revelation in your Times on August 24 a number of anxious residents have contacted the newspaper to raise their fears.

Mrs Sue Spencer’s mother, who lives in Beckenham, suffers from dementia and is completely dependent on regular carers. She said: “I was shocked and horrified to learn that plans are going ahead for Homecare as provided by Bromley Social Services is to cease to exist.

“This will affect the old, frail and vulnerable clients and their personal carers who they rely on for their everyday needs.”

She added: “My mother, who is 88-years-old, will be one of those affected by this major change. I am concerned that we have been sent no information about this but heard only through the carers themselves. There are so many clients who cannot represent themselves and clients and staff who will not speak out for fear of jeopardising their job.”

Mrs Spencer, who lives in Andover with her family but visits her mother regularly, is not alone with her concerns.

Another vulnerable person who has been affected is Daphne Piddock, who has lived in her house in St James Avenue, Beckenham, for 50 years.

The 82-year-old former actress was abruptly told on Friday by her long-term carers that they had been moved on elsewhere and that they have been replaced by unfamiliar agency carers.

Miss Piddock said: “I am absolutely dependent on my two carers who have been coming for years and years — I can’t walk as far as the other side of the room.

“I had heard rumours that they were going to change the arrangements but it was so sudden when the carers said ‘this is our last visit,’ I could have broken down.”

Ms Piddock added: “I feel lost and frightened, I can’t even get to the kitchen to see what shopping I need. My carers know where everything is.”

The final say on the changes will be made by councillors by November after a series of meetings.

Adult Services portfolio holder Graham Arthur said: “I understand people’s concerns because it is about letting people into our loved one’s homes to look after them and people are jealous about guarding that.

“At the moment we are finding out people’s views and I don’t want to comment as I don’t want to prejudice the outcome.”

A spokesman for Bromley council said: “The council has dedicated resources to make sure any changes in the arrangements to deliver someone’s care package are carefully and sensitively introduced.

“We write to them and follow this with face to face or telephone discussions to talk through the changes and then these details are confirmed in a letter.

“Most importantly, we monitor the new arrangements from day one by phone or with a visit with follow up reviews two weeks later until we are happy the care package is successfully in place. And of course, where there is contact and support from the family, we involve them in this process.”

l What do you think? E-mail michael.adkins@archant.co.uk or write to him at the address on page 2 of your Times.

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