A NEW ‘one-to-one’ survey on transport for adult social care clients to day centres could result in a better service and save vital funds.
Members of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s (CWaC) health and wellbeing scrutiny committee heard on Monday that the current consultation on door-to-day centre transport had involved speaking to every one of the authority’s 428 clients.
The authority – faced with bridging a £49m financial gap over the next three years – is also consulting all of the 30 day centres they attend.
Cllr Brenda Dowding, executive member for adult social care and health, told the meeting that clients had raised concerns about the current £1.7m service operated by the council’s passenger fleet of cars and minibuses.
Clients had complained about the length of time they were ‘trailed round’ on the vehicle because of the ‘circuitous’ routes necessary to collect them at home and drop them off at the day centres.
“It is important to realise that we are not starting from the point where we have an ideal situation,” said Cllr Dowding. “Yes, we have to reduce the costs but we can also make things better for individuals as well as achieving our objective.”
Introducing the report before committee, Cllr Dowding heralded the “great success story” of people living longer and healthier lives but stressed that the situation had placed greater demands on care services.
“In this context we need to make sure that we are making the best use of the resources that are available to maintain quality services that address the needs of our communities.” said Cllr Dowding.
“Our response is to give individuals and their families greater choice and control over their care” she said. “We are moving away from the one-size-fits-all approach that is neither personal, flexible or affordable.”
“We believe a new and more personal approach is required where individuals will work with the council to identify their transport needs and agree suitable alternatives to current provision.”
The 12-week consultation is considering alternative ways of providing the service through community transport, concessionary travel, disability living allowance, dial-a-ride and Plus Bus, voluntary transport schemes and direct payment.
The council announced last week that it is facing the loss of 400 jobs in an attempt to save over £14m towards the Government demands for 20 per cent budget savings, with council leader Mike Jones stating: “The stark reality of this situation is that you cannot save this amount of money – and protect services – without being forced into making some extremely difficult decisions.”
The consultation ends on Friday, January 24, and, until then, members of the public can read the council’s consultation document online at http://www.cheshirewestand