Social care chiefs accused of sitting on £6m reserve while vulnerable people wait for services

Social care chiefs are sitting on a £6m cash pile despite cuts in services.

West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership have a multi-million pound reserve even though local residents are waiting for vital help.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said: “It is quite simply outrageous that the WDHSCP is sitting on all this money whilst people are struggling to cope.

“Unpaid carers and those who have complex care needs have been let down during the pandemic.”

The publicly-funded Partnership delivers for groups including adults and older people, the disabled, children and carers.

However, local residents have been left frustrated at cuts and waits for service.

Anne Robinson, 66, said she requested a ramp back in September for her home in Leven Court, Dumbarton.

Anne, who has Spondylolisthesis, said she wants to visit her mum who lives nearby but finds it very challenging due to several stairs outside her block of flats.

She told the Record: “It would just be a big help for myself and my mum. Other people in the flats have got wheelchairs and strollers too and it would help them.

“Mum’s got a wheelchair and I have got a really bad back. I can get to my mum’s if I walk but I have got to have the aid of railings or a walking stick. I can do it but it makes my back really bad.

“It would make a massive difference for us to have a ramp.”

Another local resident, who is an unpaid carer for her husband requiring 24/7 care, said she was left without any respite for more than a year after the start of the pandemic.

Only now is she accessing some respite and day care for her husband, but she says it has been reduced compared to before the pandemic.

The woman said: “It does affect you mentally.

“We only get day care once a week. We used to get four. Four days of day care would make such a difference.”

According to official documents, the Partnership is forecast to have a £6.3m reserve by the end of March.

It is understood the WDHSCP, as a local government body, is required to have a reserves policy and it is for the board to agree on the minimum level.

Baillie said: “To hear that day care of four days is now just one is not good enough when the money is there to get these services up and running again.

“There is no justification for sitting on all this money when there is so much unmet need. They can’t claim they are saving it for a rainy day. They should properly fund services for those who need them most right now. This is having a serious impact on people’s mental health at the end of two years of turmoil.

“I am grateful to all the hard working social care staff who go the extra mile to help people, but SNP-led West Dunbartonshire Health & Social Care Partnership are letting them down and they are letting local residents down by sitting on this money when it could be used to help people.”

A spokesperson for West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership said: “As the end of the financial year approaches and the process of budget setting with both NHS and Local Authority partners is under way, the HSCP Board is actively considering how best to utilise reserves for the long term benefit of communities in West Dunbartonshire.”

Beth Culshaw of the HSCP said of the residents: “Our commitment is to improve the lives of the people of West Dunbartonshire by making our services accessible and equitable for those in need.

“Inevitably, the Covid pandemic has impacted our ability to progress some work, however, we are now recruiting and working to clear waiting lists.

“While we cannot comment on individual cases, we take very seriously any instances where our residents feel they need more support and would be happy to receive from Ms Baillie the contact details for the people mentioned so that we can provide appropriate assistance.”

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