Adult care cuts in Northamptonshire will have '˜devastating effect' says disabled rights campaigner

A disabled rights campaigner believes cuts to social care in Northamptonshire are discriminatory and has appealed directly to Tory councillors to vote against their own party's plans.

Carlo Salvetore of DPAC says many disabled people are worried they will lose components of their care package under county council cuts.
Carlo Salvetore of DPAC says many disabled people are worried they will lose components of their care package under county council cuts.

On Monday, Northamptonshire County Council will decide whether to ratify its 2016/17 budget and slash spending to adult social care by nearly £24 million.

Camp Hill man Carlo Salvetore, of Disabled People Against Cuts, says the proposals have created huge anxiety among people currently in receipt of care packages that help them cook, get out of bed and go to the toilet.

There are concerns over measures to “step down” the care young adults with “higher needs” are on by encouraging them to live more independently; concerns over measures to change the way new care “clients” needs are assessed and concerns that an outside company will be brought in to carry out those assessments, among many others.

Mr Salvetore believes people will simply lose parts of their care package, such as night support, when they are next assessed as the council looks to save money.

He said: “The effects of this are going to be nothing short of devastating, this will isolate communities.

“Not everyone has 24-hour provision, but this could cut those services people receive, which allow them to mix and be an active part of the community.”

He appealed directly to Conservative councillors to rebel against the cuts at Monday’s full council vote.

Mr Salvetore, who cannot walk and uses a wheelchair, has a care assistant visit his premises overnight in case he gets into difficulties.

But while he considers himself as needing an advanced care, he has always managed to work and has recently held a media job at Channel Four.

He worries that assessors could look at his and others’ situation at face value and decide he no longer needs round-the-clock support.

“For me I find it very difficult, if not impossible to cook,” he said. “I cannot get out of bed autonomously, I need a night comer otherwise I will be at risk.

“I am very sceptical of the assessment process, when someone may not have even read your file before coming to assess you and you have to tell them whether you can go to the toilet unaided.

“People are frightened, people are intimidated, it is the not knowing.”

Part of the anxiety, Mr Salvetore says, is because it is not certain exactly what the changes to the way people are assessed.

A spokesman for the council said clients’ care packages are currently reviewed every year and the reviews look at how the person is managing, whether the package of care is “still meeting their needs” and whether their needs have changed since the last assessment.

As for the cuts the spokesman added: “We are committed to ensuring people have the care and support in place that they need.”

“The individual and their family or advocate will be fully involved in the review and any changes to their care package, whether that’s an increase or reduction in the level of care, will be made in full discussion with the individual concerned.”

The full council meeting is set to take place at County Hall at 10am on Monday, February 29.