Sheffield family’s fury over cuts to care of disabled son

Tony Ashton with his son Ryan. Picture: Jason Chadwick.
Tony Ashton with his son Ryan. Picture: Jason Chadwick.
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A Sheffield dad has hit out at a charity after the number of carers it sent to look after his son was slashed from five to one.

Tony Ashton and his wife Jeannie said Affinity Trust was ‘taking the mickey’, with its level of care for 21-year-old Ryan, who has suffered with severe autism throughout his life.

In October 2013, Ryan woke up unable to recognise his own parents.

Doctors believe he suffered a stroke, a brain haemorrhage, or a calcium growth from the brain to the spinal cord.

Ryan spent 10 months in hospital before he was discharged in August last year – with his aftercare provided by Affinity Trust, a registered charity which provides support to adults with learning disabilities across the country.

One of five different carers would take Ryan out every day for walks or days out, providing his parents with a respite from the constant care Ryan needs.

However, he is now taken out four days a week, by one carer.

Tony, aged 44, said: “It’s all gone through the window.

“They’re not providing the service they should. They’re taking the mickey out of a vulnerable person.

“One member of staff, it’s just not enough.

“We’ve got to do something otherwise it’s back to square one.”

Tony is self-employed and cannot work when there are no carers to help Ryan, who requires constant support.

And he said his son – who self harms when frustrated or upset – now has ‘deep scratches’ up his arms as the problem has worsened.

His parents said Ryan now weighs 21 stones, having put on four stones since August, which they believe is due to his decreased activity since his care time has dropped.

Ryan receives funding from the NHS and Sheffield Council – and his parents said no cuts have been made to his funding budget.

Affinity Trust said it was taking the parents’ concerns ‘very seriously’.

A trust spokesman said: “Everyone we support is treated as an individual, and the level and type of support provided is tailored closely to the wishes and needs of that person.

“Where we support someone within the family home we work closely with the family to ensure the support is being provided in the right way, ensuring it is regularly reviewed, as has happened in this case.

“The person we support’s welfare is of paramount importance and we take any concerns raised seriously.

“In this instance, we are in regular contact with the family of the person we are supporting.

“We are working together to overcome the identified challenges as quickly as possible.

“Our goal is, as always, to provide the best possible support.”