Vulnerable and disabled people have reacted with outrage to the news that Derbyshire County Council will be suspending providing direct care just 10 days before the changes are due to be made.
A letter sent by Derbyshire County Council to hundreds of care users informed them that their care would be shipped out to private providers and is ‘causing severe anxiety and sleepless nights’, according to Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.
In a letter seen by the Derbyshire Times, the County Council’s Adult Care Service Director, Simons Stevens, has informed disabled service users that the local authority will be transferring their Direct Care services to private care providers and informing people that they will be contacted “within 10 days” to discuss changing their carers.
Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, said, “I am at a loss as to why the County Council would choose to announce these changes during a global pandemic. Many of the people receiving this care are in the most vulnerable group and are already suffering anxiety about their health. Now they are being told that the usual carers that they see every day, who they are used to, will be changed. I have been contacted by constituents in absolute pieces. One has told me that since the letter arrived his wife has been regularly bursting into tears and unable to sleep.”
Toby has no written to the County Council calling on them to suspend any changes until after the COVID-19 crisis has passed and until a full consultation can be had with service users, carers and stakeholders.
Toby added, “Announcing this now seems like another cynical, and rather callous, attempt to avoid scrutiny, in the same way that we have seen with the local authority still pursuing their plans to close local care homes. It is a disgraceful way to treat some of the most vulnerable people in Derbyshire and I urge the Tory leadership and senior officers to suspend these plans, which are putting disabled people at risk”.