Local Labour AMs David Rees, Aberavon, and Jeremy Miles, Neath, have today called for the local council to rethink their plans to remove residential care provision in the Afan Valley and Glynneath. Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, announced on the 22nd July that there would be a consultation process on the closure of Arwelfa in Croeserw and Trem Y Glyn in Glynneath, which could result in local authority provided care coming to an end in these locations.
The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 requires local authorities with their local health boards to undertake and publish a population needs assessment in the local authority area by April 2017. This provides an evidence base for the Council of local need. Both AMs urge the Council to defer any decision until it has this evidence base as it may help them identify alternative strategies.
David Rees AM said; “To close Arwelfa will result in the friends and family of residents having to travel further to visit their loved ones; something that will require additional time and cause greater financial hardship in one of our most disadvantage communities. As the Upper Afan Valley has one of the lowest household car ownership figures in Wales these journeys may not be possible for some to undertake or will create different challenges if undertaken by public transport, which is very poor outside working hours. Taxis are very expensive and prohibitive for many.”
Mr Rees added; “Arwelfa is an important local facility that both local people and the staff have great affection for. Before and since the public consultation, I have had conversations with many local residents who have expressed their anxiety, anger and frustration in relation to the closure of Arwelfa. There are high standards at Arwelfa and residents are looked after by professional and caring staff, who continue to demonstrate the high quality of care given to residents during this time of uncertainty. Families I have spoken to reflect their appreciation of these high care standards. They see such a vital part of the community closing as another blow to the Afan Valley.”
Any decision in relation to Trem y Glyn would not take effect for 5 years, and Mr Miles has asked the local authority to look at all options in regards to the future of Trem y Glyn. Mr Miles said “I support the policy of ensuring people can be cared for at home if they wish, but there will always be some who need residential care. The best alternative to good care at home is not residential care at some distance, but residential care in modern facilities as near the home as is feasible. In response to this consultation, I am asking the council to look creatively at how they can continue to provide residential care in Glynneath and meet the local demand for care. I would urge the council to work with the local community to explore all options including if needs be, a social enterprise if that is the only viable means of maintaining and modernising Trem y Glyn.”
Pictured are Aberavon AM David Rees and Neath AM Jeremy Miles.