Cuts to home support services in Macedon Ranges

Macedon Ranges Shire Council will scrap at least three home support services in response to ongoing Commonwealth reforms across the aged care and disability services sector.
Meals on Wheels and the Home and Community Care Program for Young People will cease by mid-2020, and supported home maintenance and home modifications will end by July 2021.
Council’s director of community wellbeing Karen Stevens said the services being phased out had low uptake and “did not support council’s continued investment”, with other providers ready to fill the gap.
“We know that there is a mature market of alternative providers currently providing, or with interest in providing, services in the shire. This can give us confidence that transition for clients can be achieved locally,” Ms Stevens said.
HACCPYP offered support for people aged under 65 years with a disability, chronic illness or short-term health needs who do not meet NDIS eligibility.
Ms Stevens said the service currently supported 32 clients and, despite efforts to promote the program, demand had not increased. There are six other local and regional providers offering the service to people in the Macedon Ranges.
Ms Stevens said Meals on Wheels had been decreasing significantly across Victoria for several years and there were just 17 clients using the service across the shire.
While the service provided nutritious meals and a point of contact for those at risk of isolation, several other services have since been introduced such as community led lunches.
The council also expects a home maintenance and home modifications service could be more readily delivered with a different contracting arrangement.
Mayor Janet Pearce said the council and staff had invested heavily in these services over the years and consideration to cease their delivery was “not taken lightly”.
Cr Pearce said there would more community consultation, and feedback to the council as outcomes were presented for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and Commonwealth decisions made for any sector reform beyond July 2020.
The council will assist current clients through the changes and directly contact those affected by the changes.

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