Cutbacks to leave man without care?

Andrew Battenberg of Woodhall Spa
Andrew Battenberg of Woodhall Spa

A DISABLED man deemed homeless could be left without social care provided by Lincolnshire County Council.

Andrew Battenberg, of Stixwould Road, Woodhall Spa, said the county council has threatened to remove his Lincolnshire Assessment and Reablement Service (LARS) care, and he will have to replace it with direct payments to the NHS or engage with other care services.

LARS provides care to a large number of families in the area who could also be affected.

Andrew was involved in a serious car accident in 2009 and, as a result, needed to make necessary changes to make his Woodhall Spa home accessible.

Whilst waiting for his planning application to be accepted, he was told by East Lindsey District Council’s solicitor that he was viewed as homeless due to the unsuitability of his current living accommodation.

While waiting for his home to be altered Andrew has been unable to get out and relies on carers coming in to help.

Andrew said: “East Lindsey District Council deemed me homeless because the property doesn’t meet my needs.

“I can’t get household insurance either because I’m technically homeless.

“I’ve been stuck in this house for two and a half years. Carers have had to do lifting in order for me to shower. Footplates can’t be put on my commode due to health and safety issues.

“There’s nothing we can do because I can’t get around.”

LARS is part of Lincolnshire Council’s ‘Putting People First’ mantra, described as ‘A shared vision and commitment to transform how people are supported to live as full and dependent lives as possible.’

Andrew added: “I’ve heard that a senior member of LARS staff said that the rostering team could lose their jobs and that other carers are preparing for the worst.”

Glen Garrod, assistant director for adult social care at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “The current system started well and has been successful, but over the years we believe that duplication with NHS work is taking place.

“We need to review how we can make necessary improvements and that is a discussion that we will have internally and with partners.

“At this stage we are not envisaging any cutbacks in staffing levels, but feel it is likely that a more comprehensive and flexible service can evolve to meet the demands.”

Although ELDC approved Andrew’s planning application this year, he said he was disappointed that it had taken so long.

James Gilbert, communications manager at ELDC, said: “There was nothing out of the ordinary in the way this planning application was handled.”

Nigel Sheriden, head of service for adult social care, said: “We will always ensure that Mr Battenberg’s care needs will be met. Individuals receive care through Lincolnshire Assessment and Reablement Service (LARS) which helps people following a health or social care incident or crisis.

“This is a short-term service designed to get people back on their feet and independent in their own home.”

“When a person no longer needs short term provision but has long term care needs we then acquire services for each individual from a range of accredited providers to ensure they continue to receive high-quality care. These can also be purchased through the direct payment system.”