White paper accessibility criticised

    Delegates to the conference were furious at the government’s
    continuing failure to provide them with accessible versions of
    Valuing People.

    Organisations that ordered copies of the learning difficulty
    white paper in April were frustrated that they have still not
    received their copies nearly four months later.

    Sandra Perry, from Enfield Disability Action (EDA), said: “Being
    here was the first chance to actually see the accessible version,
    so we have not been able to do any preparation with our
    members.”

    Jane Ellis-Morgan, from Taking Part, Shropshire, said her group
    had ordered 20 copies in March. They were then invited by the
    Department of Health and the Social Services Inspectorate to a west
    midlands regional meeting to discuss the white paper.

    Ellis-Morgan said: “When we knew we were going to be talking
    about it, we rang the Social Services Inspectorate up and they sent
    us a copy.”

    She added: “The 20 copies still haven’t come.”

    Several delegates with learning difficulties complained that the
    so-called accessible version often used words that they didn’t
    understand.

    Tamanna Choudhury, from EDA, said: “It is like mumbo jumbo. I
    was very shocked.”

    Organisers were also disappointed that nobody from the
    government or the Department of Health had attended the
    conference.

    Ian Davies, from Central England People First, an organisation
    run by people with learning difficulties, said: “We did approach
    and write letters to those people at the Department of Health. It
    is their loss and probably our gain.”

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