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Gavin slams Renfrewshire Council for cuts to elderly service

Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has slammed Renfrewshire Council bosses for withdrawing funding from a service that helps older people continue to live in their own homes in our communities.

The Older Person’s Advice Service was established in June 2013 as part of the Scottish Government’s Reshaping Care for Older People’s agenda and was funded by Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership who administered the Change Fund.

On hearing of the funding problems, Gavin Newlands MP wrote to the Director of Development and Housing Services, Mary Crearie, on 20th November 2015, as well as David Leese, Chief Officer of Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership, on 22nd December 2015 to urge Renfrewshire Council to continue to fund this vital service.

Over the last 3 years, OPAS almost has helped almost 500 elderly people in Renfrewshire to either continue living at home in the community, or move to more suitable housing. However, despite the best efforts of staff, OPAS have not been able to secure alternative funding from other sources to keep the service running beyond 1st April 2016.

Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire, said:

“I am incredibly disappointed that the funding for the Older Person’s Advice Service has been cut and the vital work of the service will now end.

“To put simply, OPAS is no ordinary service – it is a one stop shop to help the elderly with housing, social work, benefits and health issues. Older people from across Renfrewshire have benefited from the advice and advocacy that OPAS has offered over the last 3 years and will no doubt be saddened and angry to see the service close.

“OPAS have had to refer a case on to my constituency office to help two elderly constituents with problems they a currently experiencing. It is rather telling that OPAS felt that there was no existing local authority service that could deal with this multifaceted issue.

“Renfrewshire Council’s rhetoric doesn’t match the reality of the decisions that are being made. Warm words about how great the work of OPAS is simply won’t cut it. Renfrewshire Council must put their money where their mouth is and keep this service open.

“OPAS has been closed on Mark Macmillan’s watch – it is an important service that has helped to improve the lives of older people and, for that, he should be ashamed.

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