New care policy offers less choice

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EDITOR – It is not only Crowtree House that is closing in the Louth area. Recently, Lincolnshire County Council decided not to renew its contract for the Learning Disability Short Breaks/Respite in Brackenborough Road, the result being that it has now closed. We now have to take our daughter to Spalding for respite provision.

Some time ago the powers that be decided that people with learning disabilities needed to be accommodated in places in their own communities. Therefore, people had to leave the Louth day services, friendships were split up and units were opened in Mablethorpe, Horncastle etc. Where is that policy now when our daughter has to travel out of the area...a policy recently frowned upon.

Richard Collins, head of strategic development – adult social care, quoted about the closure of Crowtree House, has replied to our letters, as has Sir Peter Tapsell MP, but Mr Collins appears to be trying to convince people that we now have more choice as we can spend our personal budgets how we wish.

Not easy when the appropriate and suitable services for our daughter, locally, are not out there to be purchased. Many people who previously accessed some services now find that the personal budget they are being given is not enough to pay for the same services they were receiving before and have done for years.

Mr Collins, in his latest letter, refers to people reconfiguring their respite as though the majority are choosing change. The issue is that instead of personal budgets bringing more choice they are actually taking choice away because we can no longer have the services that we were happy with before.

Yes, people are looking for alternative services, but not by choice but because it is being forced upon them.

We have been told many times that this personal budget policy is Government-led, but when you query anything with the Government the answer usually is that how it is interpreted is up to the individual council involved.

Beryl and Robert Thompson

Covenham St Bartholomew