Cuts have left us all feeling vulnerable

Helen Laurie
Helen Laurie
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An elderly resident at a supported living facility in Kinghorn has told of her, and her fellow residents’ fears, following cuts and changes to their home care services.

Helen Laurie (82), has lived in Viewforth Court for 14 years, where she says she has been very happy.

However, since suffering a stroke in October last year, she says she has become increasingly worried about cuts to her 24-hour homecare package which includes breakfast and personal care.

“I have had this package for 12 years, but it keeps changing and neither the carers or myself, know what’s going on from week to week,” she said.

“I used to have one carer who knew me and my medical history and it was great, but since September last year there have been three or four different ones over the space of a week, and you never know who is going to come or what time they will be here at.

“It used to be at 8.00 a.m. every morning, but now it can be nine or sometimes 10 before anyone comes and I will have made my own breakfast before then.

“What’s concerning me most though is that our 24-hour care, which includes someone sleeping overnight in case anything happens, is to be stopped at the end of March. ‘That is going to leave me and lots of others I have spoken to, feeling very vulnerable.”

The overnight service is part of the service offered by Trust Housing, which runs the complex.

Funding has come from Fife Council through its housing support, but residents have recently been told that because of rising costs and budget cuts the staffed sleepover service will cease and a pull-cord alarm service linked to Careline UK, based in England, will operate.

Mrs Laurie explained: “I felt safe knowing there was someone there, but that is going to stop. Also the laundry service has been taken away and we have to pay extra for it. The service isn’t what it used to be and we are very worried.”

Martin Thom, head of service, with Fife Council, said: “I can confirm that there have been no recent policy changes within the home care service, and we will only change the service provided to people following a change in their needs.

“Given the views of Mrs Laurie, I will ensure a colleague from the home care service meets with her and any other concerned residents as a matter of urgency to address any issues about their provision.”

Vivienne McBride, lead officer, added: “We reassure that over the coming months we will continue to work with Trust Housing Association and their tenants.

“Where alternative services are required from the Council, action will be taken to speak to each person individually to assess their needs and to inform them of the range of support available so they have choice and flexibility of services which respond their individual needs. No change will happen until this process has taken place.”