Bradford Council has been criticised for “condemning lots of people to long-term loneliness” after proposing to move the bar higher for vulnerable and elderly people receiving help in the home.
Proposals by the Council to reset the Fair Access to Care (FACS) guidelines so those with moderate needs do not get help to which they are currently entitled would mean 2,000 people losing out, including 788 aged 18 to 64 and 1,290 aged 65 or over, making a saving of £1.57 million a year for the Council.
The FACS guidelines help determine a person’s care needs and whether an individual is eligible for a service from the Council to help them live at home independently.
People can be assessed as either low, moderate, substantial or critical across the district.
But the proposals going to the Council’s Executive on Tuesday would ask councillors to either: l agree to a three-month public consultation to change the FACS criteria to start at substantial and critical, rather than moderate, or l leave eligibility levels as they are and find savings from within adult social care budgets or the wider Council.
The proposals said a growing older population and limited resources meant the Council was looking at targeting social care at those in greatest need.
Councillor Jeanette Sunderland (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) said the benchmark should remain at moderate. She said cutting help for 2,000 people with moderate needs would affect those managing to live at home independently, and would affect the elderly who needed help getting washed and dressed.
She said: “This is not a subsidy for a football field or a theatre ticket, this is day-to-day help and it is unacceptable to change it.
“We have just spent £28 million on a City Park and are trying to save £1.57 million on this. These people would either become incredibly lonely or alternatively they would need to become critical to get help.
“We are unique in Bradford that we help people like this and we are against this changing.”
Coun Amir Hussain (Lab), the Council’s portfolio holder for adult services, said: “This is an incredibly important issue for all the people of Bradford – not just those people that are currently accessing care.
“We need to make sure that we are helping those who most need our help and improving our already- strong focus on preventive support.”
Coun Hussain said he was unsure what Coun Sunderland’s issues were.
“It is going out to consultation and gives us an opportunity to hear from people and what they want to see,” he said. “What Coun Sunderland needs to understand is that 85 per cent of authorities up and down the country have removed ‘moderate’.
“We will wait and see what the outcome of the consultation is.”