Peterborough Learning Disability Day Service Staff Withdrawal Decision During Consultation On Closure

gloucester_centre08:21 Thursday 9th January 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[P]AUL STAINTON: The Bigger Breakfast Show has been told of concern by users that the Learning Disability Day Service at the Gloucester Centre in Peterborough is set to close. It’s funded by Peterborough City Council, which is currently consulting about changes to day services for 18-65 year olds with learning or physical disabilities, but the service is run by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust, which has already decided to withdraw its staff at the end of March. Well Lorna Payne is Director of Service Integration at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust. Lorna, morning.
LORNA PAYNE: Good morning Paul. Thanks for having me on this morning.
PAUL STAINTON: That’s fine. Why are you withdrawing your staff when we don’t know definitely if it’s closed or not?

LORNA PAYNE: Well you’re right to point out that we are delivering this service on behalf of the Council, but it is one of the services. It’s not the only one. And you are right to say that the Council is consulting on the approach in relation to services for people with learning difficulties.
PAUL STAINTON: So have you had the nod that you’re going to get cut then?
LORNA PAYNE: We’ve certainly had a lot of discussions with the Council about the future direction of learning disability services, and they’ve clearly indicated that the future for services around learning difficulties, which they’re consulting on, and the public’s obviously welcome to put their views, is very much around moving to a service that’s more flexible, and provided more choice ..
PAUL STAINTON: Yeah yeah we’ve heard all that. Sorry to interrupt Lorna. We’ve heard that many many times from the Council as well.
LORNA PAYNE: Have you.
PAUL STAINTON: But what I’m saying is why are you withdrawing your staff when the consultation isn’t yet over? Is this a fait accompli then for the Centre
LORNA PAYNE: The service is continuing. We’re consulting with our staff as we speak, and certainly one of the things that we’re aiming to do is work very closely with the Council around the needs of the affected people. And one of the things that’s on today is a meeting for people who are affected by the possible changes.
PAUL STAINTON: But they’re not possible, are they? If you’re withdrawing your staff, what happens to the Centre in March?
LORNA PAYNE: In relation to the .. you’re talking about what’s going to happen in terms of services for people. One of the things that I would say is that most people that are affected by the changes are going to receive support, and we as the provider are working with the Council, particularly around the needs of those people.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes I get all that. I’ve heard all that. What I’m saying is you’re withdrawing your staff at the end of March from that Centre. What happens to that Centre? Does it close then? People can’t turn up if there’s no staff there, can they?
LORNA PAYNE: Well clearly we’re consulting with our staff as we speak, and we feel that it’s unlikely that the service will receive funding in the long term. That’s certainly the case. But the doors aren’t shutting today. That’s absolutely clear. The service is running. We’re providing support to people. And we’re certainly working closely with those people and their families to reassure them about the future.
PAUL STAINTON: So people have got until March effectively to find somewhere else to go, or find alternative services, because it’s not going to continue, is it?
LORNA PAYNE: No, the reason ..
PAUL STAINTON: Yet there’s a consultation ongoing, which you keep being told is taking people’s views into account. And here we have a fait accompli.
LORNA PAYNE: What I would say is that people will be supported in terms of helping them find the right services for themselves and their family. It isn’t about saying that people won’t be able to get support, or they’ll be on their own, or they’ll be left to fend for themselves. That absolutely isn’t the case.
PAUL STAINTON: What’s the point of a consultation. if it’s going to close?
LORNA PAYNE: It’s to take account of people’s views, absolutely. And also to put ..
PAUL STAINTON: But it’s not though.
PAUL STAINTON: To be brutal it’s not really, is it?
PAUL STAINTON: It doesn’t matter what they say. You’re pulling your staff out.
LORNA PAYNE: Well as I said, we’re certainly working with our staff, and we’re certainly talking very closely with the Council about the future. But it’s absolutely clear that the direction of travel that the Council has put out full consultation is around a different model of provision. It’s around a more modern service that is more flexible, that isn’t building based, and it really will be able to respond flexibly to the needs of people.
PAUL STAINTON: What happens if there’s uproar over this, and the service users say no no no no, no no; there’s a consultation ongoing; we want this; we want this place? Will you reverse your decision?
LORNA PAYNE: I can’t comment in relation to the commissioning direction of the Council. That is a matter for the Council. And that is what they’re consulting on at the moment. But I would say that what has happened up and down the country in relation to changes like this, and certainly this is not unique to this area, is that there have been changes to services. These have been very valued services, very valued from the point of view of the families, and the clients, that service. But we also know that services evolve and change over time. What we deliver in 2014 isn’t what we delivered 10, 15, 20 years ago.
PAUL STAINTON: Lorna, we’ve got to leave it there, but thank you. Lorna Payne, Director of Service Integration at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust. If you use that centre, the Gloucester Centre, the Learning Disability Day Service there, well, you heard it there. They’re withdrawing the staff, and she’s not confident that long term that centre will continue, almost like they may have had the nod, despite the fact that consultation is ongoing. Well Peterborough City Council have given us this statement. They say: “Everyone who currently attends day services at the Gloucester Centre along with their carers has been contacted and reassured that their care will be reviewed to identify an alternative arrangement. This follows CPFT’s decision to withdraw from the service.”