Local concerns for learning difficulty white paper aims

The government must enact the aims of the Learning Disability
White Paper published in March and monitor its implementation at a
local level, a member of the National Learning Disability Strategy
Group said last week.

Rob Grieg, who is director of community care development at
King’s College, London, told the Foundation for People with
Learning Disabilities conference last week that change would not
happen overnight.

He emphasised the importance of local activity to make the white
paper work and criticised the government’s failure to previously
monitor effectively whether plans to be implemented nationwide were
being followed locally.

“We need to change the culture, the way we think, otherwise
service changes will fall apart rapidly,” he warned.

“The white paper is about making a new start in the relationship
between statutory sector services and family carers – the language
used in this relationship is often the language of war. We need to
change this.”

Ghazala Mir of the Centre for Research in Primary Care at the
University of Leeds, and co-author of the report on learning
difficulties and minority ethnic communities that accompanied the
white paper, highlighted the poor knowledge and low up-take of
services within minority ethnic communities.

“If services are to reach people then they must use the networks
that are already there within the ethnic minority communities – not
just the structures that services have always used,” Mir said.

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