Care provider Hft ‘forced’ to close services due to underfunding

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Learning disabilities charity Hft has been forced to close community services in Oxfordshire due to chronic underfunding.

Hft said 88 adults will be affected by the closures of residential and day services in Milton, near Didcot.

The news follows the publication of independent research commissioned by the charity, which shows that the number of organisations forced to cut support for vulnerable adults has doubled in the past year because of financial pressures.

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Hft CEO Steve White said the closures are a demonstration of this research in action.

“In this case, the fees we are paid for the services we provide do not cover the direct costs of care. As a charitable organisation, we cannot afford to provide care at any cost. Without sufficient local authority funding, there is no long-term way for us to fund the service,” he said.

“The financial pressures on social care providers are acute and Hft is not alone in having to make difficult decisions. A lack of alternatives has left providers with no choice but to make decisions culturally at odds with the way they want to run their organisations.”

Hft told the BBC that running the services was leaving it with a £5,000 shortfall every week.

White said in a statement that the decision was “unavoidable” and that Hft recognises it will be “unwelcome and emotionally difficult” for all those involved.

“This is why we are working constructively with the local authority and all the families involved to minimise the distress and anxiety around the decision,” he continued.

“While the local authority have the statutory responsibility for identifying appropriate provision for the people they fund, it is our intention that by focusing our collective efforts on the transition, we can work collaboratively to manage this process as smoothly and sensitively as possible.”

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Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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