Mother of man with cerebral palsy hits out at planned cuts to Portsmouth adult day care centres

Shaun Simpson (24), with  his mother Linda Carmichael
Shaun Simpson (24), with his mother Linda Carmichael

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THE mother of a severely disabled man has warned planned cuts to adult day care centres in Portsmouth will destroy his quality of life.

Linda Carmichael’s son Shaun Simpson has cerebral palsy, and relies on help at a day-time support service in New Road, Buckland.

I am so angry. I could just sit and cry. I am really frightened for all of the people with disabilities in Portsmouth...

Linda Carmichael

The 25-year-old gets to enjoy in-door activities, go on trips and spend time with people with similar disabilities and those less affected.

But Mrs Carmichael says the council now wants to slash the amount of staff available to provide support - meaning trips and activities provided by the council will have to be axed.

And it’s been decided that all ‘high-dependency’ users – those that need the most support – will all be put together in New Road and at another centre in Henderson Road.

It’s a move that’s being made as two other day care facilities are set to close.

Mrs Carmichael said Shaun would stay at New Road – but she believes his development will be hampered and remaining staff won’t be able to cope with the extra demands.

Mrs Carmichael, of Drayton, said: ‘Shaun has been able to do and watch people take part in arts and crafts. He’s been to the cinema, gone swimming and gone for trips along the seafront.

‘Now the council won’t have the staff to do those things. And the council has said they will put him in a sensory room with a bubble machine.

‘I am so angry. I could just sit and cry. I am really frightened for all of the people with disabilities in Portsmouth, and for all of the people coming up through the system. Some of these people have such high-dependency needs. You have got to be on the ball with them all of the time. The staff won’t be able to cope, they will have breakdowns, be off work and then the council will have to turn to agency workers because there won’t be the staff there to look after these people.

‘Health care in Portsmouth is being cut too hard, too fast.’

But the council says the workload for remaining staff will be ‘manageable’ – and it is looking at how other organisations can help provide activities. Tory health and social care official, Councillor Luke Stubbs, said: ‘Council professional officers believe there is a workable solution and I have to take their advice. I am informed it’s manageable. Things are going to be done differently. Rather the council providing everything itself, we are looking to have a greater use of contracts with the private and third-party sectors.’