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Government shirks responsibility for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities
Friday 11 February 2011
The government has responded to the Raising our Sights report on services for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD). Learning disability charity Mencap and the PMLD Network said that the response is extremely disappointing and that the government is not taking responsibility to ensure the needs of people with PMLD are met.
While the Government says it supports the Raising our sights report, there is nothing in its response to ensure that the recommendations will be implemented and that any difference will be made to the lives of people with PMLD. The Government has failed to provide leadership and direction to local authorities to ensure the needs of people with PMLD will be met.
Beverley Dawkins OBE, chair of the PMLD Network and national officer for PMLD at Mencap, said: "People with PMLD are a relatively small group in our society but one of the most vulnerable. We have campaigned hard to ensure that their needs are understood and focused on. I am extremely concerned that the Government is not encouraging local authorities to specifically focus on the needs of this group of people. Without this, people with PMLD are at risk of being further marginalised."
Professor Jim Mansell, author of the Raising our Sights report, said: "Although I welcome the Minister's support for the general principles of the report I am unconvinced by the details in the Government's response. The specific obstacles identified in the report will not be overcome by listing the Government's general policies nor by leaving it all to local decision. There are some obstacles, for example concerning access to housing, which only government can address, but the government has not said how it will do this. I think it is extremely risky to leave action to local agencies when it hasn't worked in the past.'
The Raising our Sights report and DVD can be downloaded from the Department of Health website.
For further information please contact Jenny Brannan on 0207 696 6017 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
- About PMLD and the Raising our Sights report
There are about 16,000 adults with PMLD in England. People with PMLD have more than one disability, have difficulty communicating and need high levels of support with most aspects of daily life. The Raising our Sights report was commissioned by the Department of Health as part of the Valuing People Now delivery plan and reviewed services for people with PMLD. The report emphasised personalisation and made 33 recommendations.
- About the PMLD Network
The PMLD Network is a group of organisations, including Mencap, BILD, Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, The Challenging Behaviour Foundation, Seeability and Sense, who work together to champion the needs and rights of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities.
- About Mencap
Mencap chairs the PMLD Network. There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap fights to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities, supporting thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
Mencap is also one of the largest providers of services, information and advice for people with a learning disability across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. See http://www.mencap.org.uk/ for more information.
- About learning disability
A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops before, during or shortly after birth. It is always lifelong and affects someone's intellectual and social development. It used to be called mental handicap but this term is outdated and offensive. Learning disability is NOT a mental illness.
The term learning difficulty is often incorrectly used interchangeably with learning disability.
For more information about the PMLD Network and a full list of members visit http://www.pmldnetwork.org/.