Less care offered to blind people in Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire has seen one of the biggest drops in care and support being offered to blind and partially sighted people by the local council, according to a Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) survey.
Lincolnshire County Council has seen an 81 per cent drop since 2005 - placing it 7th in the top 20 worst local authorities in England.
The 'Facing Blindness Alone' survey has shown that nationally, between 2005 and 2013, there has been a 43 per cent decline in the number of blind and partially sighted people getting even the most basic types of council support.
RNIB's Chief Executive, Lesley-Anne Alexander CBE said: "Every year 23,000 people in England lose their sight. Invariably this has a devastating impact on their lives.
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"Not only does sight loss have a massive emotional impact, but it also means having to re-learn almost every aspect of your life.
"Shockingly people living with sight loss are increasingly losing out whether it is specialist support, rehabilitation or even help with basic activities, such as learning how to cook a meal or going outdoors safely.
"If you are blind or partially sighted and you have care needs, the prospects of getting council care and support are fast diminishing.
"Being left alone to cope with sight loss is wholly unacceptable. No matter how tight the budgets of Government are, this is essential support which must be provided. The Government needs to act now."
Richard Collins, head of service for Adult Care at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "The needs of people with a sensory impairment, including blind people, are important to us and although RNIB's report raises important concerns for Social Care across the country, we dispute comments made about our provision.
"Whilst the number of people supported in general has changed due to eligibility criteria and demographic changes, the numbers of people we support with a sensory impairment have remained consistent.
"This is partly due to the fairly unique way that we support people outside of council-run services.
"The Sensory Impairment Lincolnshire County Service provides a holistic service that supports individuals through prevention, intervention and rehabilitation.
"It supported 596 people last year and has in fact seen numbers increase year-on-year since it was established, with an increase predicted for this year too.
"The service is well respected by those who use it and is seen as an innovative model on a national basis.
"The majority of the improvements requested of the Government within the RNIB report are already in place in Lincolnshire, but we can certainly give the assurance that we will use the RNIB report alongside other information as part of our ongoing commitment to service improvements."