A ticking time bomb: The false economy of cuts to brain injury support services

May 12, 2014

Concern as vulnerable people are cut out of society by ‘false economy’ of funding cuts

 

Some of the most vulnerable people in society are being denied access to vital support services as a result of simultaneous cuts to local authority budgets and welfare benefits reform, according to a local charity that supports people affected by brain injury. The charity Headway, which helps people rebuild their lives following brain injury, has also warned that the charity’s long-term ability to support an increasing number of people in need of help is under threat if funding cuts continue.

 

The charity was reacting to the findings of a new report issued by the national Headway organisation, entitled A ticking time bomb: The false economy of cuts to brain injury support services. Published on Monday 12 May to mark the start of Action for Brain Injury Week, the report provides evidence that cuts to local authority budgets and welfare benefits reform are having a detrimental effect on the physical and psychological wellbeing of brain injury survivors and their carers. In addition to the human cost in the short term, the long-term implications could impact wider society as reduced access to vital services will lead to more people becoming reliant on expensive long-term state support. The study of more than 500 people directly affected by brain injury has revealed that in the past two years 48% of people receiving rehabilitation and support to regain their independence have lost access to vital services as a result of cuts to local authority or NHS funding.

 

More than two thirds (70%) of respondents stated they will require increased long-term support from the state in future if they do not receive the help they need now.

  • Almost half (48%) of people living with brain injury have lost access to vital rehabilitation and support services due to a lack of local authority funding
  • 70% believe loss of access to support services will lead to greater reliance on state support in long term
  • 70% feel that their long-term support needs will increase if they do not access to the support they need now
  • 70% concerned about ability to cope financially due to welfare benefits reform, with 75% fearful of further cuts in future
  • More than half report a deterioration in their quality of life
  • Charities struggling to cope with reduced support from local authorities:
    •  57% of Headway groups believe changes to local authority support have already had a direct impact on their ability to provide support services
    • 83% concerned about their ability to provide support services in long term if local authority budgets cut further
    • 89% forced to use charity reserves and additional charity funds to keep services running

 

The report also highlighted the mounting pressure on charities who are struggling to survive, with 85% concerned about their long-term future if funding continues to be cut. In addition, 89% are being forced to use charity reserves and additional charity funds to maintain vital services.

 

To read the full report Click Here