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Home care bill shock for needy pensioners

Sandwell | News | Published:

Pensioners in the Black Country are being forced to fork out for home care or have their visits axed, it has been revealed today.

Pensioners in the Black Country are being forced to fork out for home care or have their visits axed, it has been revealed today.

A total of 4,800 elderly and disabled people in Walsall are having their care package reviewed as part of a shake-up - designed to save £10 million over the next three years. Those receiving day care, home care, residential and nursing care will be affected.

The overhaul will impose a ceiling on funding through a complex government-designed formula.

Among them is 77-year-old former IT worker Patricia Davies, of Sandwell Street, Walsall, who has had a hip replacement is awaiting a knee replacement, and has one-hour visits each day from carers who help her shower.

But while she had always received the service for free through Walsall Council's social services, she is now being asked to stump up £92.25 each week.

And her son, Richard Davies, said he was concerned others in the borough were left with no option but to go without vital support because they could not afford to meet the demands.

"This is a despicable attempt at local government cost-cutting at the expense of some of our most vulnerable citizens," he said.

"I think what is most worrying is that the girls who come in to see my mother tell us lots of the other people who have home care are having to cancel it, because they simply can't afford it.

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"The council may blame the government, but it is up to them where they make the savings they need to.

"I think this is clearly going to put some of the borough's most vulnerable people at risk."

Social care bosses say those who end up with a reduction in their funding will be able to appeal.

Paul Davies, executive director of adult social care and inclusion, said: "The council conducts a financial assessment of everyone who receives services, and depending on their personal financial situation, the charging policy is applied."

Local authorities are being forced to make big cuts to spending, which bosses at Walsall Council blame on reductions in funding from government.

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