Rugby woman, 94, who is nearly blind and has dementia told to try 'take aways or frozen meals' after vital Meals on Wheels service axed

“This will be the service cut that may be the factor that means people can no longer stay at home and need to move into care, ill health that puts extra strain on the NHS or even death”

Hundreds of elderly people will be hit by the cuts. Illustration picture from Pixabay.
Hundreds of elderly people will be hit by the cuts. Illustration picture from Pixabay.

A Rugby woman who is 94, nearly blind and has dementia, has been told to ‘try take aways or frozen meals’ after her vital Meals on Wheels service is axed.

Her carer, daughter Dr Gillian Ward, has contacted Rugby MP Mark Pawsey, after Warwickshire County Council announced that provider Apetito wouldn’t be continuing the home delivery service after May.

Dr Ward said: “This service cut will have a devastating impact on Rugby residents and their families, plus our already overwhelmed care and health services.

"Apparently the Meals on Wheels service is no longer ‘commercially viable’. As the only available service, this is a shameful decision and will directly affect the health and well-being of hundreds of older and vulnerable people.“The alternative suggestions we have been offered from the council included a list of takeaways and chilled or frozen meal options. None of these are suitable for my mum, and I am sure many other older people or people with disabilities, as she can neither see or follow the instructions. I work full time and do my mum’s evening care call in addition to the other two care calls she has in the morning and at bedtime. The only viable option I can see is for us to pay for a carer to go in and heat a frozen meal.”

Dr Ward said care services are already under pressure.

"If we can find a carer in the already over-stretched care services, this will cost approximately £25 per day, seven days a week,” she added.

"We currently pay £6.25 a day for meals on wheels, but cannot afford £175 a week on lunches. When I contacted the Warwickshire County Council helpline, I was told that provision of a meals on wheels service is not a statutory service requirement, and they do not have to provide this service. How can the provision of hot food to some of the oldest and most vulnerable people in our community not be a priority. Is food not a basic human right? This will be the service cut that may be the factor that means people can no longer stay at home and need to move into care, ill health that puts extra strain on the NHS or even death.”

The MP said “I was concerned to learn that the Meals on Wheels service would be ceasing from a number of my constituents who have contacted me. Although I understand that, regrettably, the current contractor providing the service has chosen not to continue to provide this service, I have written to Warwickshire County Council to seek an explanation of the decision and what steps they are taking to identify a viable alternative provision for residents in Rugby.”

Warwickshire County Council said: “Apetito has informed the council that they will no longer be able to provide the service beyond the contract end date in May and as the council has not identified any viable alternative to continue this provision the service will stop at this time."