'Don't cut me out!' The false economy of funding cuts
Brain injury survivors need help to rebuild their lives but funding cuts are cutting them out of society.
That's according to the findings of Headway research that shows cuts to local authority and NHS budgets are continuing to impact on people's lives as individuals and families affected by brain injury are having their access to vital support services reduced as a result of funding cuts and welfare reforms.
A Headway survey conducted in 2014 to find out how funding cuts are affecting people with brain injury revealed:
- Almost half (48%) of people living with brain injury have lost access to vital rehabilitation and support services as a result of cuts to local authority budgets and welfare benefits reform
- 70% believe their long-term support needs will increase if they do not have access to the support they need now
- 70% concerned about ability to cope financially due to welfare benefits reform
- More than half report a deterioration in their quality of life
The study also examined the ability of local charities to continue to provide support to vulnerable people. It found:
- 85% of local Headway groups are concerned about their long-term survival
- 89% are forced to use charity reserves and additional funds to maintain the vital services they currently provide.
The results of Headway's surveys provide striking evidence that simultaneous welfare reforms and local authority funding cuts are having a profound negative impact on brain injury survivors, carers and Headway groups and branches.
In addition to the human cost in the short-term, the long-term implications should be a concern to all in society as reduced access to vital services will lead to more people being reliant on long-term state support. The number of people surviving acquired brain injury and requiring services continues to rise, causing services to become increasingly stretched.
You can download the full report in the related resources section.
“People who desperately need help to cope with life after brain injury are being abandoned," said Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway.
“This study makes it abundantly clear that the raft of funding cuts and welfare reforms are causing harm to the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable people who are being cut out of society due a lack of access to vital support services.
“We recognise local authorities have difficult decisions to make due to reduced funding from central government but brain injury survivors require specialist help and support to relearn lost skills, rebuild their lives and regain their independence.
“Cutting rehabilitation services or reducing access to them is a false economy as it reduces the chances of people with brain injury regaining their independence. This in turn is likely to lead to an increased reliance on state support in the long term as people are less able to maximise their recoveries and care for themselves.
“Families are also under increased pressure to care for their loved ones due to reduced access to specialist support. This could lead to people no longer being able to cope with the physical or emotional toil of caring, or no longer able to manage financially.
“Many who feel unable to continue to care for their loved one may feel they have no option other than resorting to residential care, which can cost thousands of pounds each week.
“For more than 35 years, Headway groups and branches across the UK have played a vital role in helping people rebuild their lives following brain injury.
“For many people, Headway provides a route back to independent living, further education or employment. The reality is that aside from Headway, most people – particularly those that cannot afford private healthcare – will receive insufficient support or rehabilitation after leaving hospital.
“Sadly, these charities are under threat of closure as a result of reductions in local authority support.
“Unless action is taken to enable people to access the vital support needed and to ensure those services survive, more and more people will be cut out of society and tax payers will be left footing the bill for longer-term care of those without the means to care for themselves.”