Category: Oxfordshire

From the Oxford Mail. 9th September 2010.

DR STUART White was indignant as he made a passionate stand to protect the rights of his disabled son.

He believes Oxfordshire residents should not have to “squawk” to council chiefs to maintain public services that provide a vital lifeline to many families.

The university lecturer from Marston was addressing the first of a series of meetings, organised by Oxfordshire County Council, to ask residents how it should slash £200m from its budget over the next five years.

About 80 people attended the event at County Hall and cuts to services for the elderly, vulnerable and disabled were among the main topics.

Dr White’s son Isaac, six, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a severe form of the condition, and relies on council services to help him lead a fulfilling life. He receives one-to-one tuition at school, speech therapy, physical disability support and sees an educational psychologist.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, Dr White said: “To what extent do you accept the idea that citizens have a right to public services?

“And given the scale of the cuts you are proposing, aren’t you asking us ‘whose rights are going to be violated’?”

Afterwards Dr White, from Marston, said: “I resent being put in a position were I’m being invited to squawk on behalf of my child’s rights, knowing someone else will have to pay, who has just as much right to their service.”

Isaac’s condition means he has a life expectancy of 20 or 30 years and his dad said treatment provided by the council helped his son live a full life and take part in mainstream education.

Dr White, who is a fellow of Jesus College, said: “Without them he would be physically isolated and fall behind.”….

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Doctors Issue Warning on Mental Health Cuts.

From the Oxford Mail. 13th August 2010.

“TOP mental health consultants have voiced “grave concerns” about proposed cuts to mental health services in Oxfordshire in a letter leaked to the Oxford Mail.

About £5.3m worth of service cuts are being planned to hit Oxfordshire, which could result in a 19 per cent reduction in frontline and administration staff.

A document passed to the Oxford Mail showed the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health (OBMH) trust plans to make the savings by 2014.

It cares for around 14,000 Oxfordshire people with mental health conditions and many patients and families have spoken of their worry at the changes.

Now a letter sent anonymously, but signed on behalf of six key mental health consultants, has outlined serious worries about cuts to front line staff, home visits and risk to patient care.

It warned: “As a 19 per cent reduction in staff and a major reconfiguration of the service are both independently potential sources of risk to patient safety, patient outcomes and untreated morbidity we view these as substantial and controversial changes…..”

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Further links to articles about this story:

UNITE 14th July 2010

This is Oxfordshire 17th July 2010