Poole eighth worst local authority in England for offering care to blind and partially sighted (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Poole eighth worst local authority in England for offering care to blind and partially sighted
ONE of the biggest drops in care and support being offered to blind and partially sighted people has happened in Poole.
A shocking new report by the Royal National Institute of Blind People has revealed that Borough of Poole has seen an 80 per cent drop since 2005, placing it eighth in the top 20 worst local authorities in England.
But the council has blamed a reduction in people seeking its support.
The report Facing Blindness Alone reveals that between 2005 and 2013 there has been a 43 per cent decline in the number of blind and partially sighted people in England getting even the most basic types of council support.
This is down from 55,878 to 31,740.
“Every year 23,000 people in England lose their sight,” said Lesley-Ann Alexander, RNIB chief executive.
“If you are blind or partially sighted and you have care needs, the prospects of getting council care and support are fast diminishing.”
David Vitty, head of adult social care services, borough of Poole, said: “The council has not cut services to people with visual impairments, but we have seen a reduction in requests for our support in recent years.
“Adult social care in Poole will always respond to any request for assistance, and we do provide a range of services including advice, specialist equipment and mobility training.”
Jonathan Holyhead, chief executive of Dorset Blind Association said in Poole there were 1,200 to 1,300 people registered blind or partially sighted.
“If they don’t provide help and support for people early on their needs are going to escalate causing much greater problems further down the line,” he said.
“That leaves charities like us, who don’t receive local or government funding, struggling to pick up the pieces.”
Call for changes in Care Bill
The RNIB is calling on government to make changes to the Care Bill to ensure all newly blind and partially sighted people are offered rehabilitation to help get back on their feet, and that the necessary support is provided for them.
In 2005/6 Poole had 300 people using its services which had fallen to 55 by 2011/12.
Bournemouth fell from 60 to 50 over the same period, with a high of 175 in 2007/8, while the number in Dorset rose from 215 to 235, with a high of 335 in 2009/10.
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