Proposals to close the dementia day service offered at Thomson Court, replacing it with an in-home alternative, have come in for criticism this week.
A source told The Buteman: “[There are] plans to close the dementia day service and replace it with a non-centre based befrienders-type approach where vulnerable people will stay at home and receive visits. That will not replace the full day’s care at the centre where they can socialise with each other. All will become socially isolated, [the] home care budget will go through the roof and residential placements will go up with most leaving the island.”
Councillor Strong said: “The proposed closure of Thomson Court Day Centre came as a shock to everyone as it was not even discussed at the June Community Services Committee or at the council last week.
“It turns out the decision was made by the new Integrated Joint Board in May – this is the board which is ‘running‘ Health and Social Care where council and NHS services will be integrated. If this is the way it is going to work then I fear for its credibility. It is now on its third Chair this year.
“The plans for the closure of the unit at Thomson Court were known about by senior managers and I believe staff were contacted but I am not sure if the families of the people who use the service were and councillors certainly were not told.
“Naturally anyone is concerned about uncertainty but dementia sufferers even more so. As yet we have not heard what is being put in place but it would seem a ‘befriender’ type of service is being considered.
“The main purpose of the Day Centre was to give some routine to dementia sufferers and to provide respite for their families and carers – I would like to think a befrienders service would work as well but I remain to be convinced.”
A spokesperson for the Health and Social Care Partnership said: “Support in living with dementia will continue to be available on Bute.
“Changing needs in our population and significantly reduced funding mean that the HSCP must change how we work, to make the best use possible of resources for the people who need our services. Our aim wherever possible is to make changes that will help maintain and target support to greatest need.
“We are working towards providing people with dementia support in their home or community rather than from Thomson Court Day Centre. We will take time over the next 6 months or so to consult with staff, service users and their carers on developing the new service, and are contacting service users and their carers about this. We will also be consulting with trade unions to look at all options for the staff affected by the re-design of the service. This will include looking if required at redeployment opportunities.
“Our focus is on delivering as much effective support for as many people as possible, with the resources we have.”
* What do you think? Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.