The number of day centres for adults with learning disabilities in West Sussex could be reduced as part of modernisation plans for adult social care services.
West Sussex County Council is consulting on the proposals, which it says are not about service closure or reduction but changing them to better meet the needs of residents in the future.
A total of eight premises currently providing day centres or residential homes could be shut, with users accessing services at alternative locations.
The council says that the plan ‘Choices for the Future’, for in-house adult social care used by more than 900 people, will see ‘exactly the same levels of service but delivered in fewer buildings’.
As well as catering for rising demand the council says it wants to improve the choice and control people have through the way they are supported.
The consultation papers state that these are only proposals and a decision will not be made until this summer.
Amanda Jupp, cabinet member for adults and health, said: “We know that changes to adult care services can be unsettling for the people that use them but I am confident these proposals will mean we can meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents in the way they would like.
“As demand for adult social care is increasing, people’s needs are changing and in many cases becoming more complex. In response to differing demands and the inevitable pressures this brings we are changing how we deliver these important services to those who need them.
“These changes require a different approach which is less reliant on the provision of traditional building based activities. While these proposals are wide-ranging, it is important to stress that there will be no reduction in levels of support given to the people who use them.”
But James Walsh, leader of the Lib Dem group at County Hall, said: “These proposals are very worrying for many users and potential users of day centres across West Sussex. The key to proper service provision is to have them as accessible as possible to the majority of users, and these proposals will very likely make some of them even further away from users, effectively denying the service.
“We keep having claims from the Conservative council that service reductions will lead to better quality and efficiency.
“The sad reality is that all these cuts are cumulative, and the end result is less service for fewer and fewer people.
“With our increasingly aged population we should be expanding services, and not reducing them in the name of austerity.”
As part of the proposals:
• The Wrenford Centre, in Terminus Road, Chichester, a day centre for adults with learning disabilities, would stop being used.
The service would be combined with that provided at Chestnuts, in London Road, Bognor Regis and Judith Adams, in St Pancras, Chichester, which both currently provide day centre services for older people.
• Services run at the following three facilities, Marjorie Cobby House, in St Peter’s Crescent, Selsey, Chichester’s Tozer House, in Tozer Way and Hammonds, in Hawthorn Road, Bognor Regis would only be operated from two sites.
Marjorie Cobby House provides reablement and a short-term residential service, while the other two run residential services for adults with learning disabilities.
New 24-hour residential provision would focus on complex behavioural and physical need, with both sites yet to be determined although they would still be in the Chichester and Bognor areas.
• Stanhope Lodge, in Poplar Road, Durrington, which provides a residential service for adults with learning disabilities, would close.
A new facility would be built on the site of The Pines in Durrington, which currently is a day centre for adults with learning disabilities.
This would include a new 24-hour residential service and new day opportunities services.
People using The Pines would relocate to the Laurels, Glebelands, Rowans and other providers during building of the new site.
• Coastal Enterprises in Brougham Road, Worthing, a day centre for adults with learning disabilities, would close with the current service combined with day centres for older people at The Rowans, in Pelham Road, Worthing, Glebelands in Middle Road Shoreham and Rustington’s Laurels.
• The Oaks outreach service in Rustington and Coastal Workshops, in Dominion Way, Rustington would be combined together and operate out of the Laurels, in Sheep Fold Avenue, Rustington, where the day opportunity service would be kept and developed.
• In Horsham both a 24-hour residential service and day opportunity service would be provided on one site although the location has yet to be decided.
The Strawford Centre, in Blatchford Close, a day centre for adults with learning disabilities, would remain until a new site is completed.
The other facility in the town is Hobbs Field, in Leechpool Lane, a residential service for adults with learning disabilities.
• The Glen Vue Centre, in Railway Approach, East Grinstead and Maidenbower, in Harvest Road, Crawley, would close to day centre users, who would instead make use of Burleys Wood and Deerswood Lodge.
• Services would be kept and developed at New Tyne, in Durrington Lane, Durrington and Ball Tree Croft, in Western Road North, Sompting.
• The day opportunity service at the Burnside, in Victoria Road, Burgess Hill would be kept and developed.
However the council will continue to look for an alternative building in the Burgess Hill area.
The information pack estimates the changes will take five years to complete as they include service mergers, disposing of some premises and building new ones.
The council argues the new approach is designed to give more control to people receiving support, reduce the likelihood of isolation and improve users’ health and wellbeing.
A survey runs until May 31. To comment visit the council’s website.
Will you be affected by proposals? Email the newsdesk.