Scottish Borders Council has been criticised for its handling of changes to day centre provision for the elderly in the region.
A review of the facilities, as part of a transformation programme by the council’s health and social care integration joint board, looks likely see day centres in Eyemouth, Galashiels, Hawick, Jedburgh and Kelso – closed for good.
The council’s executive member for adult social care, Councillor Tom Weatherston, explained that the centres are being replaced by a more individually-targeted programme.
However, other councillors remain to be convinced and criticised the decision, the lack of prior communication and the manner in which day care users and their families were told of the changes.
Mr Weatherston said: “Over the last few years the number of clients attending day centres has dropped dramatically and we are down to around 40.
“The main thing we need to make clear is this is a service being delivered in a different way and is not the end of a service.
“Every person currently attending a day centre will be given a link worker who will discuss with them and their family a range of options and each client will have an agreed activity programme that the link worker will support.
“Everyone appreciates the importance of respite for families and carers and that will still be delivered.
“This new model is giving clients a choice on what they would like to do and who with and a trial in Berwickshire has resulted in much better outcomes for people.
“No changes will be made until clients and their families are engaged with a new range of weekly activities.”
Mr Weatherston said the new system will work better in helping elderly people with individual needs, adding; “The team in Berwickshire has won an award for their work in transforming this service to a much more client-focused service with much better outcomes for individuals with different needs and who need different levels of support and I am confident this new model will result in people receiving the correct resource for their individual needs and be much more community based.”
A council spokesperson said: “It is envisaged that some existing day centre provision will be decommissioned. However, we are not in a position to provide any detail on this at the current time.
“Engagement with clients and their families started last week and will continue over the coming months to develop an understanding and agreement on what alternatives will meet people’s needs.”