Last month Derbyshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group decided to cut grants to health and care services delivered by volunteers across the county by £300,000, including £100,000 from the High Peak and Dales area.
The Community & Voluntary Services (CVS) based at Buxton, Whaley Bridge and New Mills will see an end to funding for most of the services they have built up over the years, including Community Transport to help patients travel to medical appointments, respite overnight care to assist family carers, and a befriending scheme to help prevent loneliness among older and isolated people.
Derbyshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee have the power to refer this decision to the Secretary of State for Health and Ruth George MP is calling on the Council to do so.
“Our voluntary services are vital for hundreds of local people who desperately need support. Most patients are elderly or disabled and have nowhere else to turn.
“I’ve met with the CVs, with patients affected and with GPs who are very worried about the impact on patients, especially those who are vulnerable.
“The decision doesn’t make sense, either for the welfare of patients, or for saving the NHS money. Local volunteers help patients to keep well and stay out of hospital, saving the NHS and Derbyshire social care a fortune in in more expensive paid care.
“When I led a debate in Parliament on the proposals in September, the Health Minister agreed that the voluntary sector delivered excellent service and should not be the first port of call for cuts. So there is a chance the decision could be reversed.
“The Minister also promised there would be full consultation with GPs, patients and the organisations who run the services, but this has not happened. It gives ample grounds for referring the decision, and I’m calling on the County Council to give our voluntary services that chance.”