New job fears as council reviews home help ‘van’

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A SERVICE which provides home help for bed-ridden and disabled residents in West Suffolk could be axed.

Suffolk County Council is carrying out a review of its night van service, which runs between 10pm and 6am throughout the week in two parts of the county.

Three vans operate in West Suffolk including Bury St Edmunds, Brandon and Mildenhall and provide care for between 15 to 20 people.

Another van runs in Ipswich for three customers.

Residents who use the service are now being asked about their needs and staff are also being consulted.

The proposals cast an uncertain future for the 16 staff, who now fear for their jobs.

As part of the options being considered, the service could be stopped or provided in a different way.

One idea is to provide residents with a personal budget to use for their care needs at night.

David Evans, head of access and partnerships for adult and community services at Suffolk County Council, said: “We will have completed our research with staff and customers by the end of this month.

“We will review the outcomes of that to develop any ideas in terms of changing the service or developing an alternative service.

“There are maybe ways customers could use their personal budgets to provide a service that isn’t provided by the county council.” He added that there were ‘always job opportunities’ in the council’s home care service.