The BRISTOLIAN‘s Health & Wellbeing Correspondent explains more about the dangerous changes in Bristol’s council Care Services…
Bristol City Council’s adult care services have been “UNDER REVIEW” for nearly two years. The idea behind the reviews is to CUT SERVICES TO THE VULNERABLE. Two services have been drastically affected: residential care for the elderly, and day services for adults with learning difficulties.
Unions have vainly attempted to stop the worst effects for service users and the care workers who support them.
As hard as people have tried, managers have continued to slash and burn these services. Elderly People’s Homes (EPHs) were closed and day services shrunk and made DANGEROUS by uncaring managers.
First to close were the EPHs. Residents were scattered as they lost their homes and care. Many were put in private homes – and looking at Holmwood House, we know what that could mean.
Hundreds of staff were also made redundant and thrown on the dole. But not for long. Clueless boss NIKKI COLE soon realised the slash-and-burn had gone too far too soon and staffing levels were too low even for the council to tolerate.
Care workers were re-employed at great cost to the Council Tax payer. Was Cole held to account? no. She’ll be handed a huge redundancy package and allowed to retire as residential care struggles to make ends meet.
The situation in day services is even worse. Contrary to all advice, Service Director VARETA BRYAN and sidekick SHEENA HUGGINS created three ‘supercentres’ for day care to bring together elderly dementia care patients and those with learning difficulties.
Everyone who works in the service says that this is barking mad and dangerous. Frail elderly people are at great risk even with full
Staffing quotas, which is unlikely. Many staff have left because they do not want to work in an environment which could be seen as negligent and abusive.
Managers have lied and disciplined staff who stood up to them. One worker was so upset by the plans they cried and shouted during a so-called consultation. They were given a management warning. Bryan then sacked him… But also ensured he got a LARGE PAYOUT to buy his silence.
This service is dangerous and cruel. One manager who contacted The BRISTOLIAN fought back tears as he described how he tries to manage services in a crap environment with no resources and too few staff. He had the clear impression that when – not if, but when – someone gets seriously hurt, he will get the blame.
Vareta Bryan declined to comment to The BRISTOLIAN.