Campaigners attack plans to delay closure of long stay hospitals

Learning difficulties campaigners have criticised plans to delay
the closure of long stay hospitals by up to two years,
writes Amy Taylor.

The government’s 2001 learning difficulty white paper Valuing
People set a deadline of April 2004 for the closure of all long
stay hospitals for people with learning difficulties. But this has
now been extended to April 2006.

David Congdon, head of external relations at learning difficulty
charity Mencap, said the charity was “very disappointed” by the
Andrew Lee, director of national learning difficulties organisation
People First, warned that the new deadline would allow “bad
practice” in long stay hospitals to continue, “which goes against
everything that Valuing People stands for”.

Social care minister Stephen Ladyman said the extended deadline
was essential to ensure people still living in hospitals were found
services and support that best suited their needs.

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