Closing social care services in Hastings will prove costly in the long run through increased hospital admissions

From: Pam Brown, Former chairman, East Sussex Social Services. Linton Road, Hastings

When the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care visits East Sussex (as reported in the Observer), he will no doubt have been briefed on the dire financial situation facing the county council.

The council leader, Cllr Glazier, says ‘we have a plan and we have delivered it’. Indeed – there was a plan to deliver massive cuts to caring services which has led to the pending closure of our own Isabel Blackman centre.

While other drastic cuts to services are to be implemented – agreed by the leading group of councillors – only day centres were chosen to be closed down completely, along with ‘assurances’ that facilities being provided by the centres ‘can be located elsewhere at less cost’. Where is proof of this?

Surely, anyone thinking of closure, should have done their homework BEFORE the decision was taken, in order to ensure that such a statement could be verified.

This was not done, as there is a clear instruction to a named member of Adult Social Care staff, to ‘find these alternative services’, after the decision was taken.

No forward thinking, no proven assurance of the alternative care said to be available for users of IBC who are understandably scared and confused about their what lies ahead for them.

Someone, somewhere might just conclude that preventative care is cost effective – to the county council and to the local health service. Closing day centres may in the short term appear to be a county council saving, but in reality, it will prove more costly for the health authority through more hospital admissions.

Mike Hancock will (I believe) discover that Better Together is making remarkable progress in East Sussex, in spite of the prevailing policies of central government – giving with one hand and taking with the other.

His analysis of what a continuation of this policy will mean for those needing care and attention to their physical and mental health needs, is anyone’s guess.

Just maybe, he will conclude that – with enormous deficits facing East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust, the Clinical Commissioning Groups, and East Sussex County Council – it really is time to call a halt to yet more cuts being imposed by government directive.

ESCC and health are striving to work together to deliver care. Will central government now work with them?