Scale of cutbacks of services revealed by new Learning Disability Coalition report
Wednesday 02 July 2008
Thirty-four percent of people with a learning disability have reported their day time activities have been cut according to a report launched by the Learning Disability Coalition today (2 July 2008).
The report Tell it like it is was the result of a survey of people with a learning disability and their carers by the Learning Disability Coalition, which is made up of the leading learning disability charities.
The survey also reveals that 37% of people whose college courses were cut were forced by lack of provision to stay at home and 77% of people who commented on their transport services had a negative experience of them.
The report will be formally launched today at a parliamentary event hosted by Tom Clarke MP - Chair of the All Party Group on Learning Disability, and supported by the Learning Disability Coalition.
It also stated that even where cuts are not made, reductions in quality of services are happening. One respondent said:
"Don't do much at the centre. Too much Bingo, lots of watching TV and DVDs. No more outings. Programmes are ignored - staff shortage blamed. It is a multipurpose day centre and the elderly take priority over people with learning disabilities for staff time."
The report provides graphic details about the level of cuts in services affecting people with a learning disability. The Learning Disability Coalition argues that these cuts are a false economy as they can lead to deterioration in people's mental and physical health, resulting ultimately in them requiring higher levels of support.
Carol Boys, Chief Executive of the Down's Syndrome Association - a member of the Learning Disability Coalition, said:
"This report leaves no doubt about the level of cuts in services that people with a learning disability are facing. The cuts are in addition to the rationing of care as eligibility criteria are tightened. We need increased funding and services as a matter of urgency, and the Government must ensure that their once-in-a-generation chance to reform the social care system is not missed."
The Government is currently consulting on adult social care. It plans to publish the Green Paper on adult social care next year.
Dame Jo Williams, Co-chair of the Learning Disability Coalition and Chief Executive of Mencap, said:
"This report, and the comments we received, make harrowing reading. The needs of people with a learning disability must be addressed in the Green Paper on the funding of adult social care expected early next year. Increasing demographic and social pressures, such as improvements in neo-natal provision and advances in medical care that mean that people with a learning disability are living longer. Demand for social care that is outstripping the resources available."
"If the Government are to meet their aim of achieving equality for disabled people by 2025 they urgently need to commission research on the increase in demand so they can deliver on their policies."
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Notes to editor
For more information please contact Lucy Pile on 020 7696 6017 or at email@example.com
- The Learning Disability Coalition is formed of ten organisations: Mencap, Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, Association for Real Change, British Institute of Learning Disabilities, Down's Syndrome Association, National Forum for People with Learning Disabilities, People First, Sense, Turning Point and United Response.
- People with a learning disability don't get an equal chance in life. That's why the Learning Disability Coalition is fighting to get sufficient public funding to meet their rights and needs.
- In 2005-2006 three quarters of councils experienced significant cost pressures for their learning disability services and they were under-funded by £80 million.
- 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability.
- Learning disability affects someone's intellectual and social development all their life.
- Learning disability is not mental illness. It is not dyslexia.
- To find out more, go to www.learningdisabilitycoalition.org.uk.