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Monday, 01 September 2014

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Furness residents’ fears for future as carers cut

RESIDENTS who receive care in their homes are worried about the future after learning that a long-running service is to end.

Furness Carers, which has been a registered charity for 16 years, is set to discontinue its home care services due to Cumbria County Council cutbacks.

The Barrow-based service has 17 staff who work in the home services support department and provide care to around 25 vulnerable people. However, the number of people it has dealt with has dropped by around 40 per cent since the council changed the way it selects providers.

A member of staff from Furness Carers said both service users and workers were worried about the future.

The employee said: “Many of these service users are already vulnerable due to illnesses, age-related conditions and now they are going to lose the service from care staff who have been supporting them for many years.

“Our service users have come to know our care workers on a personal level and we have prided ourselves on the personal value that we have offered to them.

“Not only are the service users having to come to terms with the situation they find themselves in but there are a number of care staff who have an uncertain future, not knowing if they are going to lose their jobs or if they are able to be transferred to another provider. However, with the framework procedures this could be unmanageable.”

Joan Baber, 73, said Furness Carers had been helping her husband Norman, 80, since he became ill two years ago and she had no idea what would happen when the contract was terminated at the end of the month.

She said: “We have no knowledge of what they are going to do. Over two years, these carers have built up a great knowledge about the people they care for and feel like an extended member of the family.”

Mrs Baber said she had been left stressed by the uncertainty over the future of her husband’s care and had chosen Furness Carers because she knew of the type of care they provided.

The county council said the needs of service users would continue to be met.

A spokesman said: “All customers who have been cared for by Furness Carers will continue to have their needs met.

“The council is working with Furness Carers and other contracted providers to ensure that there are no gaps in provision once Furness Carers ends its service delivery.”

Have your say

It is with great regret, disappointment and disgust that I feel compelled to write the following.

My father, John Nicholson, has been receiving home care from Furness Carers since May 2010.

The care he has received during this period of time has been exemplary, but what is also important is the level of trust that has been built up. This takes time and requires the care providers to be both sympathetic and supportive to their clients.

We are now faced with the situation of Furness Carers having to close their home care operation on the 5th April as a direct result of the Cumbria County Council’s policy of categorising the agencies into A providers (council preferred providers) and B providers (of which Furness Carers is one) who have to fight from the “scraps from the A providers tables”.

This has left my father feeling stressed and anxious about the whole situation and me in the position of trying to convince an elderly person with serious health issues that he will continue to be cared for with dignity and to the high standard he has become accustomed to. This is no easy task as I’m sure many senior citizens, including my father, are often “set in their ways” and unnerved by what they see as unnecessary changes to their circumstances.

It is quite obvious to me that these sweeping policy changes by Cumbria County Council have been taken with complete disregard for the well being and dignity of the people it affects (including the carers themselves) and is once again just a “number crunching” exercise to cut costs by people who have no concept whatsoever of the consequences, in human terms, of these actions.

Posted by Stuart Nicholson on 21 February 2013 at 12:31

I have worked for Furness Carers for three years.The relationship between the staff and the clients that we care for is second to none in the area. Many clients chose Furness Carers in the first place because it was a non-profit making organisation managed by a board of trustees that included carers as members.That choice now seems to be taken away from them with their care being provided by a larger private organisation more geared to profit than the person centered care that Furness Carers provide. In the last twelve months staff have had to face a one pound pay cut in their basic rate of pay as well as the total removal of their petrol allowance just so that they can continue to provide the service.This goes to prove their total commitment to the clients they care for and the great service they provide.

Posted by Alan Dawson on 20 February 2013 at 05:40

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