Population growth may leave thousands without care, say learning disability charities
Wednesday 03 December 2008
-New research by the Learning Disability Coalition shows the number of people with a learning disability is increasing -
Thousands of people with a learning disability may be left without proper care after new figures published today reveal that the number of people with a learning disability who need social care services is growing up to 5.5 times faster than previously estimated.
Estimating Future Need for Adult Social Care Services for People with Learning Disabilities in England1, conducted by the Centre for Disability Research and commissioned by the Learning Disability Coalition and Mencap, reveals that the number of people with a learning disability needing social care support will grow by between 3.2 per cent and 5.5 per cent per year over the time period 2009-2026. This compares to a figure of 1 per cent used by the Department of Health in the past.
The Learning Disability Coalition, formed of the leading learning disability charities, says its research findings reveal the true extent of the social care crisis for people with a learning disability and is calling for a substantial increase in social care funding to meet this unforeseen demand.
Heather Honour, Director of the Learning Disability Coalition, says: "Over the last few years people with a learning disability across the UK have had their services cut, or in some instances withdrawn completely due to a lack of funding. To truly understand demand for services, the Government must commit to doing more research on learning disability".
Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of learning disability charity Mencap says: "These new figures are evidence that without a substantial and immediate injection of funding the social care crisis will hit people with a learning disability harder than we originally thought.
"These findings should serve as a wake-up call. The Government must ensure that their once-in-a-generation chance to reform the social care system is not missed".
Reasons for the growth in the number of people with a learning disability are:
- Increased survival rates of babies with profound and multiple learning disabilities due to medical advances
- Baby-boomers with a learning disability, many of whom are supported by elderly parents, will require social care support when their carers are no longer around to care for them
The new research findings form part of the Learning Disability Coalition's submission to the adult social care consultation2.
Notes to editors:
To download a copy of the research report go to /node/5996.
For further information contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 6017.
1. Estimating Future Need for Adult Social Care Services for People with Learning Disabilities in England, Centre for Disability Research, Lancaster University, Eric Emerson & Chris Hatton, 26 November 2008.
To estimate future need, researchers used the Department of Health's Spring 2008 School Census to ascertain the number of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) associated with learning disability.
2. The government's consultation on social care Care, Support, Independence - meeting the needs of a changing society ends on 28 November 2008. This will inform the social care green paper due to be published early 2009.
The Learning Disability Coalition
- The Learning Disability Coalition is formed of ten organisations: Association for Real Change, British Institute of Learning Disabilities, Down's Syndrome Association, Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, Mencap, National Forum for People with Learning Disabilities, People First, Sense, Turning Point and United Response.
- The Learning Disability Coalition was established in May 2007.
- 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.
- 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.