Disabled people in Bristol could be moved to care homes to save council money

Disability equality organisations warn the change could violate the rights of disabled people. Credit: Stock image

Disabled people in Bristol could be forced to live in care homes if it is cheaper than providing support for them in their own homes.

Bristol City Council's proposed Fair and Affordable Care Policy says disabled people whose in-home care exceeds the local authority rates could be placed in nursing or residential homes under a new scheme.

The policy is currently out for public consultation until 31 January 2024.

Bristol City Council has stressed that should changes come into effect, discussions will be had with the disabled person they impact, before decisions are made.

However, the proposal has been fiercely challenged by disability equality organisations including Bristol Reclaiming Independent Living (BRIL).

Mark Williams, from BRIL, said he was 'stunned' when he first saw the draft policy.

He told ITV West Country: "At the moment the main people that we're really worried about are autistic people and people with severe learning difficulties because they are more likely to have high support needs and so risk having their support cut and being moved to care homes.

"It is very worrying if Bristol is bringing the policy that other councils would do the same."

BRIL is holding an open online meeting about the threat the new policy poses to independent living on 5 January.

Mark Williams explains his mum had to fight for his rights and now he's lived independently for 30 years.

The policy also received significant backlash from Disability Rights UK when it was first discussed in April 2023.

The charity said: "[We] believe that the policy fails to uphold the rights of disabled people in Bristol to receive the care and support they need based on personal preference. And the right to live independently at home with choice and control over care and support.

"The draft policy, as stated, is incompatible with the rights we are granted under the Care Act 2014."

A spokesperson for Bristol City Council said the proposed policy was co-developed with the Bristol City Council Adult Social Care Equalities Forum and the policy stresses that all decisions will be made in collaboration with the disabled person they impact.