The Eindhoven city council deeply regrets the damning home care report.
This became apparent at their weekly meeting last night. Various factions judged the actions of the council very harshly. Councillors Renate Richters and Joost de Jong offered their apologies.
For years, many elderly and disabled people in Eindhoven have experienced unnecessary problems in allocating home care. The council changed the policy at the beginning of 2018. And all sorts of things went wrong. Hundreds of elderly, disabled and chronically ill people received less support every week.
According to the National Court of Auditors, they weren’t consulted about the changes. The same goes for the care organisations that had to provide this help. The bases for the changes weren’t in order.
The council underestimated the effects of this new policy. Measures to adjust the situation came too late. And the city council had too little insight into all the changes.
Councillor Murat Memis (SP) speaks of “very painful conclusions for all concerned”. He says, “the policy had a harsh, painful impact on residents who needed help. It’s caused a great deal of suffering and grief.”
“It’s severely eroded our residents’ confidence in us.” Councillor Dré Rennenberg (Elderly Appèl Eindhoven) adds, “You feel ashamed when you read all this. We’ve failed.”
‘Caused needless suffering’
“We’ve not only caused people financial difficulties. We also caused these people to suffer needlessly. Should we continue like this?”
Rennenberg compared this situation to the national benefits scandal. “Does someone from the council go to the King’s Commissioner to announce their resignation?”
Various coalition parties are also critical. Councillor Hafid Bouteibi (PvdA) says, “We’ve learnt a valuable lesson. This is an opportunity for the municipal board to give us a self-evaluation. The council can then make a decision.”
Not the same
Councillor Richters calls the report ‘confrontational’ but disagrees with the grants scandal comparison. “There, the authorities labelled people as fraudsters for a long time.”
“They were greatly affected. In Eindhoven, mistakes were made in the policy changes regarding home care. It was something else entirely.”
Councillor De Jong says things will change. The municipality will consider how it deals with objections and appeals differently. That’s when someone applies for help at home.
“We have to improve. But the world is complex and changing rapidly. So, you’ll never have a guarantee that you have a complete overview. Or that something like this will never happen again,” he says.
The city council will discuss the report further next week.
Editor: Melinda Walraven