Hands off day care

A DISTRICT nurse has hit out out at Calderdale Council’s cuts to day care for the elderly and disabled, saying they will have a disastrous impact on her patients.

Catherine Gakhal is so concerned about the effect on the well-being of vulnerable people that she is taking her fight to Downing Street.

She has written to Prime Minister David Cameron expressing her dismay over cuts and closures to day centres in Calderdale and across the region.

Her letter has also gone to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker and Halifax MP Linda Riordan.

She said it was her duty to support her patients, many of whom would be ‘cruelly affected’ by the programme of cuts and closures.

“I know from talking to my patients as a I carry out my duties as district nurse in the Brighouse area that there is a lot of anxiety,” said Mrs Gakhal.

She said day care was ‘a vital and fundamental service’ that enabled elderly and disabled people to retain a degree of independence, be cared for and supported at home and reduced hospital admissions.

“To cut provision for day care on the grounds of cost is very short-sighted. For one thing it helps keep people out of hospital - where care is much more costly - and for another many people who work in the field of adult care are often low paid anyway.

“I understand that we are faced with a difficult economic climate where cuts have to be enfoced to save money wherever possible. But I cannot accept that it will cost less money to provide individual home care packages to people as opposed to day care.”

She said the cuts had already begun to bite with the council’s threat to the Calder Valley Club in Mytholmroyd - although a five-month reprieve has now been won for the much-used centre.

Mrs Gakhal said she feared elderly and disabled patients would end up lonely and isolated at home.

“I could not sit back any longer and hear about these cuts without saying something. I had to speak out on behalf of the voiceless minority who cannot speak for themselves,” she said. “It is vital that the cuts are reconsidered as the work carried out by the day centres and the staff is so valuable.”