Pensioner protests after reclassification leaves her ‘isolated’

Peggy Alcock, from Oakham, has been told by Rutland County Council that she no longer qualifies to attend the local day centre for free. 'Photo: MSMP160213-001ow
Peggy Alcock, from Oakham, has been told by Rutland County Council that she no longer qualifies to attend the local day centre for free. 'Photo: MSMP160213-001ow
1
Have your say

For eight years Peggy Alcock visited the same day centres twice a week to see friends, have lunch and the opportunity to “think and talk”.

Now the 90-year-old, who cannot walk unaided and has difficulty hearing, is no longer eligible as her need has been reclassified as “moderate” by Rutland County Council.

It follows councillors voting in August to amend the criteria for social care support from moderate to substantial - the four levels defined by the Government are critical, substantial, moderate and low.

“It was my only social life: I don’t do anything else,” protested the former wages clerk. What am I meant to do, sit indoors and deteriorate slowly?

“I’ve lived through the Blitz, worked hard all my life and now at the age of 90 I’m being treated like this. It’s appalling: they’re taking away the only thing that keeps me going.”

Mrs Alcock, of The Lodge, in Stamford Road, went to Oakham’s Westgate day care centre on Mondays and Acorn day care centre on Tuesdays. She paid £6 for lunch each day with transport provided free by the council.

If she wants to continue she must fork out £43.50 for each day which includes a £30 charge, £7.50 for transport and £6 for lunch.

“There is no way I can afford that,” said Mrs Alcock, whose only income is a state pension.

“I feel very strongly that this is wrong, some old people will have nothing to stimulate them and will end up just sitting in their rooms.”

Referrals to adult social care rose from 1,114 in 2011/12 to 1,812 in 2012/13.

A spokesman for Rutland council said: “The demands on council funded social services are increasing and we’ve witnessed a 63 per cent rise in referrals during the past 12 months.

“With further increases in our elderly population predicted, councillors took a number of difficult decisions to make sure we can continue to fund services for those who need them most.”

A London School of Economics study found about half a million older and disabled people in the country no longer receive social care after it was withdrawn from people unable to carry out “several personal care or domestic routines” by nine out of 10 councils.

Academics said it would cost £2.8bn a year to reinstate care to the group judged to have “moderate” needs.