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THE PAST AND FUTURE OF CARE IN THE COMMUNITY

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The former director of social services at Kent CC claims that care in the community has not been a complete failure...
The former director of social services at Kent CC claims that care in the community has not been a complete failure but has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable and handicapped people.

In a letter to The Times (p17), Nicolas Stacey, who held the post from 1974-85, writes: 'The Tories introduced community care as a consequence of a report by the late Roy Griffiths. Sir Roy told me that his report was largely based on what Kent social services had pioneered.'

He continues: 'What has given community care a bad name is the unseemly rush to close hospitals hospitals for the mentally ill (often on large and valuable sites) resulting in a number of patients being discharged without adequate alternative provision being made, with highly publicised tragic consequences.'

Meanwhile, John Bowis, the former parliamentary under-secretary of state for health, writes to The Times, saying that the next step in the reform of care of the community must be to create separate purchaser authorities for mental health with a direct allocation of resources.

He says: 'Only this would end the hopeless struggle to compete with other health demands on health authorities and other spending pressures on local government, within and outside social services.'

He concludes: 'I see no other way of ensuring that resources reach this crucial area of care and of providing the seamless service such vulnerable people need.'

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