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Report highlights lack of essential learning disability data
Wednesday 28 May 2008
A new report has revealed a lack of government data on learning disability, leading to concerns about poor service planning.
‘People with Learning Disabilities in England' states: "It is not possible to estimate the number of adults with learning disabilities from information held by central government departments or from large-scale population based surveys."
The Learning Disability Coalition has called for more research following the report, which was commissioned by Mencap and published today (Wednesday 28 May 2008) by the Centre for Disability Research.
Heather Honour, director of the Learning Disability Coalition, said: "We want to know how the government is doing its sums for learning disability services, when crucial information about learning disability isn't available.
"Without solid evidence on the emerging trends affecting demand for services, government cannot accurately estimate the resources needed to meet the rights and individual needs of people with a learning disability – both today and in the future.
"In addition, more research needs to be done into the number of family members and friends providing unpaid care, especially older carers. Not only do these carers need support now, but without clear information the government cannot be sure that the social care system will support those people with a learning disability when their parents are no longer around to care for them."
The report also identifies factors that could lead to a change in the number of people with a learning disability in England, including increased survival rates among young people with severe and complex disabilities, who often require life-long complex packages of care, and reduced mortality among older adults with learning disability.
The report follows the government's announcement of a six-month debate on the future of care services in England.