4:09pm Wednesday 19th February 2014
THE concern expressed by Mr Yarwood, Guardian, February 12, regarding the proposed changes to adult care transport do, I believe, reflect the wider anxieties of many service-users and their families.
The consultation claims that part of the reason for these changes is to promote greater independence and choice.
But what choice is being given, what independence promoted, by the withdrawal of a vital service to some of the most vulnerable members of our community?
The consultation further claims that more efficient alternative arrangements can be found, but requiring users to navigate their way to centres and activities via public transport is fraught with risks.
It is a sad fact that people with disabilities often encounter prejudice and sometimes abuse in public places while the loss of drivers familiar and often trained in managing users with disabilities will be an enormous one.
And our bus and train services remain difficult to access, especially if you are disabled.
If the only viable alternative is for carers to pick up the responsibility of taking users to day activities it will create enormous inequity – insofar as only carers with the means and time will be able to maintain this access. More disadvantaged service-users and their caring families will be penalised and potentially denied services.
Cheshire West and Chester Council say that these changes are essential in order to meet the growing budget deficit.
But surely policies that will ultimately restrict or entirely exclude disabled members of our community from interacting and participating in the life of our community are fundamentally wrong.
Paul Dolan, Councillor for Winnington and Castle, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Northwich
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