11 April 2016

Day centre future in the spotlight

Councillors and local health professionals are due to consider a proposal to close a council-run day service in Brighton and make appropriate alternative arrangements for service users to ensure their care needs are met.

The Tower House day centre provides day services for older people and those with physical disabilities. The centre has seen a fall in demand for its services in recent years, and currently only operates at between 50% and 83% of capacity.

Brighton & Hove’s health and wellbeing board, which comprises both NHS experts and councillors, will consider the results of a three-month consultation with users of Tower House and their families and carers when it meets on 19 April.

During the consultation service users were able to talk to care staff about their individual needs. It was also a chance for service users to find out more about the wide range of other similar services that are available around the city.

Through this review process it was found that there are only 13 people who have eligible needs and require the level of service currently provided at Tower House.

The average cost of day services provided in-house by the council is £64 per day, compared to £29 in the voluntary sector. Keeping Tower House running for two days a week for the 13 people who require the level of service the centre provides would push the costs up to around £140 per person per day.

In recent years the council’s adult care team has helped people wanting alternatives to its day services to get involved in a wide range of other local activities. These include:

  • Arts / music groups
  • Community centres
  • Computer / internet groups
  • Day centres run by other local groups
  • Gardening clubs
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Learning / reading
  • Lunch / dinner clubs.

At a well-attended ‘What’s Out There Fair’ in February users of Tower House were able to meet representatives of organisations providing some of these other local activities. These groups included: the Ralli Hall day centre; Crossroads Care; It’s Local Actually; St John’s Hop 50+; and the Brighton & Hove FED.

The chair of the council’s health and wellbeing board, Councillor Daniel Yates, said: “We have a legal duty to make sure people who are assessed as having care needs receive appropriate services, and we will continue to ensure that this happens.

“Due to cuts in funding from central government the council has to make savings of around £68m in the next few years. So we need to do everything we can to deliver services in a more cost-effective way.

“These days so many other local groups offer a wide range of services for older people and those who have physical disabilities.

“There are also other council-run day services such as Wayfield Avenue that have space and could meet the needs of many of the current service users.

“Our role as a council needs to be more around achieving value for money by commissioning services from across the wider community, rather than actually providing the services ourselves.

“The consultation period has been very useful for all parties. It has helped us to re-focus on the needs of our service users, and it’s helped them to find out more about the many different ways in which their needs can be catered for.

“We do not own the Tower House building, so we are not able to offer the building to other groups for other uses.”

If the city’s health and wellbeing board agrees with the proposal to close Tower House, the matter will be referred to the council’s powerful policy and resources committee for a final decision.