De­ci­sion is post­poned on mo­bil­ity ser­vices

Rochdale Observer - - THREE ARRESTS IN DARK WEB DAWN RAIDS - Rochda­le­ob­[email protected]­media.co.uk @RochdaleNews

ADECISION on con­tro­ver­sial changes to mo­bil­ity ser­vices – which means some ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients could be re­fused wheel­chairs – has been post­poned as not enough coun­cil­lors turned up to vote on it.

If ap­proved, changes to the Pos­ture and Mo­bil­ity Clinic are ex­pected to re­lease nearly £40,000, to be rein­vested in other parts of the ser­vice which caters for pa­tients in Rochdale and Bury.

But there would be draw­backs for the el­derly, those re­ceiv­ing end-of-life care and chil­dren and adults whose pos­tural or mo­bil­ity prob­lems are not per­ma­nent.

Wheel­chairs would be taken out of care homes and ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients’ au­to­matic en­ti­tle­ment to a wheel­chair would stop.

The de­ci­sion was due to be made on Tues­day, by Rochdale’s In­te­grated Com­mis­sion­ing Board – which is made up of Rochdale coun­cil­lors and NHS chiefs.

But at least three of the coun­cil’s vot­ing mem­bers must be present – and as nei­ther Coun Iftikhar Ahmed or Coun Sarah Row­botham were present, the is­sue could not be de­cided.

Couns Allen Brett and Kieran Heakin at­tended the meet­ing.

Coun Ahmed told the Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­port­ing Ser­vice he was un­able to at­tend due to work com­mit­ments, while Coun Row­botham was said to be stuck in heavy traf­fic.

A de­ci­sion on whether to launch a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on fur­ther sav­ings pro­pos­als – ex­pected to in­clude cuts to fer­til­ity ser­vices – has also been de­ferred. An­other meet­ing is now ex­pected to be held at Num­ber One River­side, on Mon­day.

The Pos­ture and Mo­bil­ity Cen­tre has strug­gled fi­nan­cially and health chiefs say their pro­pos­als would help to pro­vide wheel­chairs to pa­tients most ur­gently in need, while meet­ing NHS wait­ing-time tar­gets.

But, con­tro­ver­sially, this would also mean tak­ing wheel­chairs out of care homes and end­ing au­to­matic en­ti­tle­ment to a wheel­chair for the ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients.

And chiefs are also rec­om­mended to stop sup­ply­ing chairs to adults and chil­dren who do not have a per­ma­nent pos­ture or mo­bil­ity prob­lem, but use them oc­ca­sion­ally due to be­hav­iour is­sues.

A re­port to the ICB says that if the rec­om­men­da­tions are not ap­proved the ser­vice would ‘con­tinue to rep­re­sent poor value for money and con­tinue to strug­gle to de­liver its core ser­vice and treat­ment within de­fined tar­get times’.

How­ever, it con­cedes each of the three rec­om­men­da­tions come with their own draw­backs – in­clud­ing dam­age to the ser­vices’ rep­u­ta­tion.

It ad­mits that ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients, who would lose their au­to­matic en­ti­tle­ment to a wheel­chair might strug­gle to af­ford their own chairs.

And, more­over, could be in­flu­enced to buy in­ap­pro­pri­ate mod­els by self­in­ter­ested providers.

There are also con­cerns the vol­un­tary and pro­vide sec­tor may not be able to meet their needs.

There are 286 wheel­chairs booked out to care homes across the bor­oughs of Rochdale and Bury – and a re­cent au­dit sug­gests that fewer than 20 per cent of these are in good work­ing or­der, with the rest ei­ther in need of re­pair, bro­ken, or lost.

By not re­mov­ing them the ser­vice could be li­able for in­juries to pa­tients trans­ported in ill-suiting chairs.

There would also be sav­ings from no longer re­plac­ing 20 chairs a year un­der a rolling pro­gramme.

The re­port warns that homes, pa­tients and fam­i­lies may not wel­come the move. But stop­ping sup­ply­ing chairs from the chil­dren and adults who only need them oc­ca­sion­ally – some­times for be­havioural rea­sons – could be the most con­tro­ver­sial.

Draw­backs in­clude the pos­si­bil­ity that chil­dren could be ex­cluded from school trips and a height­ened risk of in­jury due to ‘un­con­trolled be­hav­iour’.

There is also said to be ‘sig­nif­i­cant dif­fi­culty’ in sourc­ing wheel­chairs for chil­dren on the pri­vate sup­ply mar­ket.

THE town’s Ukrainian com­mu­nity have marked the 85th an­niver­sary of Stalin’s geno­ci­dal famine with a cer­e­mony in the memo­rial gar­dens. Com­mu­nity and re­li­gious fig­ures were joined by Mayor Coun Mo­hammed Za­man and Tony Lloyd MP for the memo­rial ser­vice on S

●●Rochdale’s Ukrainian com­mu­nity com­mem­o­rates the ‘Holodomor’

●●Rochdale River­side

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