Support for elderly people and families at risk as Council struggles to contain financial pressures
The annual meeting of Healthwatch Northamptonshire, held on Thursday 19 July, heard from Healthwatch Chair Dr David N Jones about the very serious situation facing the county council with grave implications for adult and children’s services.
“Adult and children’s social care now takes the largest part of the county council budget”, Dr Jones said, “so the need to find more savings can only mean less help will be available for those who need it most.
“It is deeply worrying that the most vulnerable people in Northamptonshire are likely to pay the price for the council’s problems.”
Healthwatch volunteers voiced concern about the potential loss of early help services for struggling families, which almost certainly means that more children will come into care and the risk of serious child abuse increases. Savings on early help only postpone crises and add to costs later on.
There was also concern at the impact on elderly and disabled people of cuts in social care support, rural bus services, road gritting and libraries. “There is an urgent need to strengthen community support services for older people as the hospitals are struggling to cope and this only adds to the NHS funding crisis”, Dr Jones said.
“The reforms in local government and the health service in Northamptonshire cannot be driven in an exclusively top down way. The voice of local people and especially those who use services must be heard”, Dr Jones concluded.
Kate Holt, CEO of Healthwatch Northamptonshire, added “Following on from the extra-ordinary council meeting yesterday (1 August), it is imperative that all County Councillors, whatever their political party, use their knowledge and expertise to work together with staff in the best interests of the people of Northamptonshire”.
Healthwatch Northamptonshire is the independent champion for health and social care in the county, working to help people get the best out of their local health and social care services, whether it's improving them today or helping to shape them for tomorrow. We exist to ensure that people are at the heart of care. We listen to what people like about services, and what could be improved and we share their views with those with the power to make change happen. We also help people find the information they need about local services. As well as seeking the public's views ourselves, we also encourage services to involve people in decisions that affect them. Our sole purpose is to help make care better for people.
Healthwatch Northamptonshire has recently published its Annual Report 2017-18, highlighting their achievements over the year, in spite of financial challenges: www.healthwatchnorthamptonshire.co.uk/AnnualReport2017-18