I listened with interest to Radio Shetland on Thursday evening and the level of concern registering with our elderly citizens on the possible changes to the provision of meals on wheels.
Unfortunately the two councillors on Public Platform did not, in my opinion, provide entirely re-assuring answers, not always easy I grant in the limited time available. For clarification on what this proposal is and where it stands I would like to offer the following.
The proposal sits in the council’s budget document Service Re-design Options for 2012/13 and Beyond, reference number 64, and reads “Reduce/change MOW provision (frozen meals)”.
The implementation procedure is one of assess, therefore the final decision will lie with the incoming council. The estimated saving is £250,000 of the annual £1million for provision of the service.
On Radio Shetland it was stated that each meal costs £25 to provide so presumably to achieve this level of savings this cost must be reduced to £18.75. I cannot believe that this is not achievable by making local efficiencies and still maintain provision of a freshly cooked meal delivered hot to each client; as opposed to shipping in frozen meals from the south of England.
Failing that there are other areas of council expenditure more deserving of cuts than our pensioners!
As a shift worker at Sullom Voe I was subjected to the experience of frozen meals for a period of time. It is not something I would recommend for anyone and certainly not for the elderly and infirm, who depend more than anyone else on the nutritional value derived from a freshly cooked meal.
A key statement in the document lies in the services outcome column, where it reads “Changed service providing meals in different ways, not a reduction in service levels”.
A move to frozen meals is, in my view, a reduction in service levels; if I am fortunate enough to be elected on 3rd May it is not one I will be supporting.
Candidate for forthcoming SIC elections.