“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”