£15m cuts to vulnerable people’s care

carer elderly old care nurse pensioner helping aged
carer elderly old care nurse pensioner helping aged

FRAIL, elderly and vulnerable people will bear the brunt of Sheffield Council cuts next year, with £15 million of £57m spending reductions due to fall on the city’s care budget.

Chris Jenkinson, organiser for the union Unison, claimed the cut would mean 235 frontline care jobs will go among nurses, care visitors and support workers. The council did not confirm if there would be redundancies.

Around 12,000 elderly and disabled people in Sheffield rely on help from the council’s care service.

The Labour administration has announced the care budget will be cut by four per cent - equivalent to eight per cent when inflation and cost increases are taken into account.

The council said the reduction is lower than in other areas, and pledged not to change the criteria for who is eligible for care.

Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for health, care and independent living, said: “We know how important care services are for older people and people of all ages in the city. That is why we do not want to change the criteria to assess who gets care. Sheffield Council is determined to do all it can, within the resources it has, to protect services.”

The total care budget next year will total £190m, including services such as housing advice and supporting independent living.

Jacqui Milner, 68, secretary of Sheffield Pensioners’ Action Group, said: “It’s heartbreaking they have to do this. It always seems it’s the most vulnerable in society that pay. The care system is in crisis.”

The council is proposing £5m of efficiency savings by merging teams and roles and cutting management, administration and contract management costs.

Around £6m will come from cutting back on the use of care homes or intensive care support.

The council’s last two elderly care services - Sevenfields resource centre in Wisewood and Hazelhurst in Jordanthorpe - could be closed.

Lib Dem leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed called for the council to reveal its full budget rather than releasing information bit by bit. “It’s time the full budget was made public instead of carrying on this sham of a consultation,” he said.