In a new report published today (5th November) people with learning disabilities give their opinion on the Government’s plans for social care and discuss how their lives will be affected by the proposals.
Produced by the national disability charity, United Response, ‘Our Future’, looks at Government plans published in the recent White Paper and Draft Care and Support Bill from the perspective of United Response’s Campaigns Panel, a group of service users with learning disabilities and their relatives, surveyed and interviewed by the charity.
With the Government currently considering the responses it received during the public consultation on its proposals, ‘Our Future’ is a timely report. It reveals that while service users and their relatives feel that some of the proposed reforms would make a really positive difference, almost all are concerned about current levels of funding for care; what is going to happen to their benefits; and how their support will be affected as a result. Free care for disabled people, as well as better access to support for those with mild and moderate needs and those with multiple disabilities were all regarded by the panel as crucial to providing people with the support that they need.
Speaking about free care, one member of the Campaigns Panel, Shairaz, said:
"Some people will need support for the rest of their lives and you can't expect them to pay for it. Disabled people shouldn't have to pay for it. We have to accept our disability and the Government has to accept it too."
He also felt that many people have unseen needs, which are not being met.
“I think that people with learning disabilities and mental health needs don’t get enough support. You need to look beyond physical appearances. People can be like apples or eggs – they look fine on the surface, but you don’t know what’s going on underneath.”
For Vicky, a second member of the panel, access to care for those with mild and moderate needs is a matter of equality.
“It is important to talk to people with mild and moderate needs and their relatives to ask what they think and what the person with a disability needs. This would also help more people to understand them better and to be treated equally.”
Alongside the impact of Government’s proposals, ‘Our Future’ also looks at whether disabled people and their families are being kept informed of changes that could affect them and the care they receive. With only one third of the panel being able to name in detail any of the proposals, prior to taking part in ‘Our Future’, the report highlights the ongoing need for information to be made more accessible.
The report, which includes an afterword from disability campaigner, Kaliya Franklin, concludes by calling on all politicians to make a commitment to social care and disabled people by:
Ensuring that there is enough funding to make care and support work.
Listening to the views of disabled people and involving them in future decisions.
Speaking about ‘Our Future’, United Response chief executive, Su Sayer, said:
“The social care system in this country is in urgent need of reform. At the moment too many disabled people are not receiving the support they need and even those that are remain concerned that their support could be reduced.
“The White Paper and draft legislation present us with an opportunity to offer disabled people a much more secure future, but this can only happen if the system is properly funded and people with disabilities are fully involved in the process.
“Disabled people deserve to have the care and support that they need and which works. We must not let them or future generations down by missing this opportunity to fix a system which is severely overstretched.”
‘Our Future’ is available in a joint text and Easy Read format. To download a copy of the report, go to www.unitedresponse.org.uk/OurFuture
For further information, including an embargoed copy of the report, please contact Sarah Bartlett or Jaime Gill in the United Response Press Office on 020 8246 5237or 0208 246 5122 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Notes to editors:
1. United Response’s Campaign Panel was set up last year and is a group of service users with learning disabilities and their relatives who want to speak out about issues which affect disabled people. Using an accessible survey and face-to-face interviews, United Response asked the panel for their thoughts on the Government’s White Paper and Draft Care and Support Bill. These have been published in the ‘Our Future’ report.
2. United Response is community based, working in many localities across England and Wales. We are a top 100 national charity with a turnover of over £60 million, employing more than 2,500 staff and working with around 2,000 people at any one time.
We provide everything from 24 hour care to a few hours of support a week. Our support is always designed around each person because we know one size does not fit all. Some people may require minimal support; those with complex needs may require considerably more.
We plough our resources back into ensuring the quality of the support we provide, particularly in training, and have been shortlisted for ten major awards in three years, winning a National Training Award. We are pioneers in the areas of communications and inclusion, with particular expertise in communicating in a simple and accessible way. We have worked with the Government and many major financial services organisations on making politics and financial information understandable for people with learning disabilities.
To find out more about United Response’s work go to www.unitedresponse.org.uk
Vantage House, 1 Weir Road,
London SW19 8UX
Direct line: 0208 246 5237
United Response is a national charity supporting adults with learning disabilities, mental health needs and physical disabilities.
To find out more, visit our website: http://www.unitedresponse.org.uk
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