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A motion calling for day care centres to operate on a full-time basis once again has been rejected by councillors.
Currently, council-owned day centres are operating on a reduced basis – something which has been fiercely criticised by carers. But the council says this is because of Welsh Government Covid restrictions.
In a council meeting on November 16, councillors voted to reject the motion, which was put forward by Plaid Cymru group leader Councillor Colin Mann.
The rejection of the motion means day centres will continue to operate on a limited basis and social care will remain “community-based”.
The council’s director of social services, Dave Street, said: “We really do appreciate the level of angst out there. Nobody is doing this out of spite.”
Mr Street said the council is monitoring the situation and assessing whether provisions can be relaxed “every day”, but emphasised that the service users are “extremely vulnerable” and the consequences of them catching Covid could be fatal.
Cllr Mann said he recognised it was not a simple situation, but said the council needed to give carers hope.
But Cllr Shayne Cook, the council’s cabinet member for social care, said the motion “not only ignores current Welsh Government Covid regulations and Covid risk assessments, but poses a real threat to our most vulnerable”.
He added: “The majority who use the service are listed on the shielding list.”
Cllr Mann responded by saying he would not encourage the breaking of Covid rules, stressing his motion calls for day centres to open pending a consultation.
Prior to the decision, Cllr Mann said: “People who are out there caring, it is a 24-hour commitment. It is not something most of us can even contemplate.”
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Labour councillor Derek Havard said: “My heart wants me to vote for it but my head says no.”
Cllr Havard added: “I really would like to vote for this, but we are dealing with a practical problem.”
Following the lengthy discussion, Labour councillor Roy Saralis said: “I have had total reassurance that the matter is constantly under review, I therefore see no purpose to this motion.”
On November 1, the social services scrutiny committee recommended the council reject the motion.
Cllr Cook said: “I have spoken with families of service users and explained that we have no intention of closing day centres, but we are continuing to follow Welsh Government regulations in relation to Covid-19.
“This is being mirrored across other local authorities who are offering a reduced day service provision with a focus on community options.”
Cllr Cook accused Cllr Mann of using day centres as a “political football” – but Cllr Mann denied this and said his party “are acting on behalf of carers”.
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