An extra £41 million funding for learning difficulties
services was announced by the government last week, but an
investigation by Community Care has found that many local
authorities are still failing to meet key Valuing People targets,
writes Maria Ahmed.
Three quarters of the 20 long-stay hospitals for people with
learning difficulties that missed the original April 2004 deadline
for closure are still open almost a year on.
Five of these – the Orchard Hill hospital in Sutton, the Gloucester
centre in Peterborough, Prudhoe and Northgate hospitals in
Northumberland and the Princess Marina hospital in Northampton are
also situated within areas showing poor performance on direct
Northumberland and Northamptonshire Councils were identified by
the Commission for Social Care Inspection as requiring “urgent
investigation” into their provision of direct payments in the
social services performance assessment framework indicators for
2003-4. Sutton and Peterborough Councils were said to need to be
questioned about their performance.
The Valuing People support team is expected to report on the
progress towards the closure of long-stay hospitals and the
provision of direct payments to community care minister Stephen
Ladyman in its annual report due out next month.
The majority of institutions still open told Community
Care they were “in the process” of moving residents out and
were “confident” of meeting the new April 2006 deadline for