A 10-year strategy for people with learning difficulties has met
with a mixed response from voluntary and academic groups following
its launch by the Scottish executive.
The strategy includes the creation of a Scottish Centre as a
national resource for service users, carers and agencies as well as
for promoting public awareness. Local area co-ordinators will be
appointed to support people in the community.
Lisa Curtice, lecturer at the Nuffield Centre for Community Care
Studies, was critical:
"It would appear that the idea is based on a Western Australian
model which has been heavily criticised due to its
ineffectiveness," she said.
Curtice said there was no evidence to substantiate the report's
allegation that care management in Scotland has failed.
She added that there were fears that this proposal was simply
care management by another name and if co-ordinators were based in
the health sector it would result in a further diminution of social
work's involvement in community care.
Values Into Action, the national campaign for people with
learning difficulties, applauded the proposed closure of all
long-stay hospitals by 2005 but criticised the decision to delay
mandatory direct payments until 2003.
Based on the first review of people with learning difficulties
for more than 20 years, the plan addresses the needs of children as
well as adults.
Iain Gray, deputy minister for community care, said: "People
with learning difficulties sometimes do not get the services and
support they need and deserve. This report will change that."
Other ideas suggested in the strategy include establishing a
managed network for autism, modernising day services, focusing on
personal development and employment, extending short break
entitlements, and introducing the right to a personal plan on
Partnership in practice agreements are to be introduced
providing a focus for local authorities and health boards working
together to develop services. A change fund will be created to ease
the transition for local authorities.
Gray said: "People who use services and their carers have played
a key part in shaping our thinking."
· The Same as You is available from the Stationery
Office, Edinburgh, 0131 228 4181