THE Chief executive of Wirral charity Autism Together has supported calls for urgent government action to rescue a sector in financial ‘shock’.
Robin Bush represents one of four national organisations adding their names to a letter from Merseyside Autism Together, written in response to a survey conducted last month by Cordis Bright Viewfinder into the financial health of all social care sectors.
In what the report authors called a ‘shock to the system’ the survey found 77% of autism providers are struggling financially, with nearly two thirds stagnating or shrinking.
The charities stress services – such as residential care homes, supported living in the community and day services – are under-funded by cash-strapped local authorities, which continue to face their own pressures.
One in every hundred people in the country now have an autism diagnosis. This unique, lifelong condition remains the only disability to have its own act of parliament.
The charities say local authorities must pay hourly rates which reflect costs and call for an end to the slashing of care packages, increased co-operation from health and social care workers. They also want support workers to be paid what they are worth.
Many workers are leaving their roles for less demanding and better paid jobs. One manager reported that a highly skilled and dedicated staff member had recently resigned and gone to work in a discount store.
Robin Bush said: “We have supported living services failing right now because of this whirlwind of poorly considered budget slashing.
“We care deeply that Matt, a quiet man in his forties, is too scared to go home at night because his anxious flatmate is experiencing deep paranoia and displaying challenging behaviour.
“Social services will no-longer let us have a full-time support worker in the house to manage these vulnerable people.
“This house had worked exceptionally well for nearly eight years”.