Page last updated at 23:57 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 00:57 UK

Opposition in home-care demands

By Kevin Keane
Fife reporter
BBC Scotland news website

Home care protest (generic)
Campaigners have staged several protests against the charging policy

Opposition councillors in Fife have joined forces to call for a review of home-care services in the region.

Every Labour, Conservative and independent member of the authority signed a joint letter demanding a ward-by-ward breakdown of services.

Bryan Poole, the independent who organised the "show of unity", said he feared the service was stretched.

Fife Council said it was appalled that the integrity of the authority's staff was being called into question.

Mr Poole said the "unprecedented" joint call was prompted by concern and confusion about changes to home-care policy.

Services withdrawn

He told the BBC Scotland news website some users had been left without vital services with no explanation.

"A few weeks ago I was phoned by the relations of two constituents on a Thursday evening who were literally frantic with worry," he said.

"They had been advised it was unlikely Fife Council would be able to provide home care services over the forthcoming weekend to their relations."

Mr Poole said a service was provided after the social work department was contacted, but added it was not the first time problems had arisen.

I am appalled by the comments of some councillors who seem determined to question the professional integrity of Fife Council employees
Cllr Peter Grant
Fife Council leader

Protesters from the group Campaign Against Charges disrupted a council meeting in June when they chained themselves together. Several were in wheelchairs.

The group said the new charging policy introduced this year was unfair and a "tax on the vulnerable".

Labour group social care spokesman Mark Hood claimed getting an accurate picture had been difficult, adding: "I am not sure whether the information just does not exist or whether the information is so damaging that there is a reluctance to put it in the public domain."

The comment prompted an angry reaction from the administration's leader Peter Grant.

He said: "I am appalled by the comments of some councillors who seem determined to question the professional integrity of Fife Council employees by suggesting they are hiding information from councillors.

"As an administration, we are determined to be as open as possible about the council's performance."

Mr Grant said it had been known for a long time that the authority's social work and health committee would receive an update on home care charges on 9 September.

"I have to ask myself whether the timing of the request is entirely coincidental," he added.




SEE ALSO
Rethink call on home care charges
07 Jul 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Care roll-out report is published
04 Jul 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Protestors secure council meeting
01 Jul 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Protests disrupt council meeting
26 Jun 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Charge prompts 400 to cancel care
28 Jan 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Home care charge 'blocking beds'
14 Jan 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Protest over higher care charges
08 Jan 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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