The sorry state of West Sussex County Council’s adult day-care service is illustrated by the plight of Midhurst stroke victim Teresa Holmes.
She has been ‘reassessed’ and told she no longer qualifies to use the Grange day centre or to use adult services transport to get her to the lunch club she can still attend there.
But she has been amazed to discover the Grange bus still picks up another disabled person who lives opposite her in Mead Way – and it drives past her with empty seats.
“It comes about 10am,” said Teresa, “and although I am not allowed into the Grange for lunch until 11.30am, it would mean I could get a lift as far as the Grange and use my wheelchair to do some shopping in town before lunch.”
Instead, she must make her own way there in her electric wheelchair in all weathers, otherwise she says she would become a prisoner in her home.
West Sussex County Council (WSCC) claims Teresa’s reassessment was nothing to do with the current county-wide review of day services.
It was, says WSCC, just a routine review of her circumstances.
“I don’t believe that,” said Teresa.
“I think they are a law unto themselves. I think this is all to do with the building and stopping the day-care centre – the more people they can get out of the centre, the less they have to worry about.
“This has had a devastating impact on my life. I used to be with friends all day and have my hair washed and nails cut at the centre.”
The Rev Ken Jacques is a day-centre volunteer. “I think Teresa’s case is appalling,” he told the Observer.
“Whatever other issues are involved, the fact is Teresa has to get herself to the Grange while someone across the road is still picked up by the bus.
“It’s awful. I just don’t understand the logic. Whatever the financial implications are make no difference. This is a person in need, who is entitled to care.
“A lot of money goes from the county council to private companies to fund health care.
“Obviously part of the brief at the county council is to get private companies to take on health care so it takes pressure off the council, which then has less finance to provide – and in the meantime, people like Teresa are thrown on the scrapheap.”