Time is Running Out

Dear neighbours and friends,

Thanks to you, the petition to save autism services has almost reached 7,000 signatures – which is truly astounding. You’ve helped me to show the strength of feeling about these cuts to Haringey Council – and shown that it won’t just be James’s life that’s affected by these cuts, but hundreds and thousands of other lives too.

I’m writing to you today because I need your help again! Haringey residents have been given very little time to tell the Council how they feel about these cuts. Haringey Council’s consultation on will end this week.

Will you join me and make our voice even louder? Please answer Q 1, 2 and 5 of the consultation: 

The council has not made it easy to respond to the consultation. I’ll walk you through the steps to this urgent and crucial consultation.

  1. First of all click next to see Question 1 and 2,
  2. Then click through until you get to question 5 (this is the part which relates to cuts to adult social care),
  3. There is some text that you can use these paragraphs as the basis for your response. [1] Feel free to add something in your own words, why you are against the cuts,
  4. Then go straight to filling in questions 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16.  These are questions asking about your residency in Haringey, your age, ethnic origin and so on. If you have time, it would be helpful for you to fill in these questions but it is not essential!
  5. After this click on ‘next’ until you see a message thanking you for filling in the form. But please remember to click the ‘SUBMIT’ button underneath the thank you message.

Please fill the consultation, it would make a MASSIVE difference and really help our campaign.

The consultation came out just before Christmas. This way the council gave people living with severe learning disabilities and autism only the last week to try and understand these proposals and to have their say about them.

Many of the adults with autism have limited communication and don’t understand what these cuts will mean. They will not be able to formulate responses to Haringey or tell them that taking their day centre away will devastate their lives and those of their parents and carers.

The petition is fantastic and will help us a lot but we will have a much bigger impact on Haringey if as many people as possible respond directly to Haringey Council about their plans to cut these essential services.

If Haringey Council start seeing hundreds more consultation responses flooding in objecting to these plans, they will really get a sense of how outraged we all are by these proposed cuts.

Many thanks,

Mary Langan

 

NOTES:

[1] Suggested paragraphs to use for the q 5 of the consultation:

Pressure on carers: Haringey’s budget plans propose reducing ‘professional help’ for adults with autism and learning disabilities who have complex and challenging needs. These are some of the most vulnerable adults in the community and the proposal to focus on these individuals being supported instead by ‘personal, community and family’ puts pressure on ageing parents and carers and is likely to result in carers and their adult children with autism hitting crises, which may in turn require costly emergency care from social and mental health teams.

Social work cuts: The plan to cut social work staff by 25% will increase the risk of people with autism being subjected to diverse forms of abuse and exploitation. Even at current staffing levels social workers are struggling to provide adequate safeguarding procedures for vulnerable adults in the community; the cuts are likely to make a bad situation worse.

Care package cuts: The council plans to reduce spending on individual care packages and residential placements for vulnerable adults by almost £10m. This is likely to result in pressure to transfer individuals to supported living projects run by the lowest cost providers – who rely on poorly paid staff, often lacking in relevant skills and experience, with limited training opportunities. This will lead to a high turnover of staff and a loss of continuity and quality of care. Some individuals with complex needs and challenging behaviours will be transferred ‘into the community’ – in some cases into the care of ageing parents and other carers. Contrary to the presumption that this will provide a higher level of care, it is likely to put more pressure on families, resulting in some cases in crises in which emergency care becomes necessary.

Cuts to day centres and impact on those with autism: People with learning disabilities and autism are currently getting care and support through personalised care packages, residential homes and day centres because they have been assessed by social workers to have very high care needs.  They get this support precisely because they are some of the most vulnerable people in Haringey. Many of these people have disabilities which mean they are less able to communicate and care for themselves. Some are non-verbal and often they also have ‘challenging behaviour’ which occurs because it is often their only way of communicating. They and their carers rely on these services and staff to give them and their children much needed expert support and respite.

These proposed cuts will undermine the quality of life that these day centres and care packages give them. If these cuts go through, carers will struggle to cope without the support of experienced and trusted care staff. There is a real danger that if these cuts go ahead, the independence and safety of already vulnerable people will be endangered.

It is essential for people with autism to have routines and consistent structures and people around them. If this is taken away, there is a huge risk that these clients will become isolated, anxious and that their mental health will suffer. They are less likely to go out into the community if they are on their own with staff who may not have the right experience or knowledge to support them.