Call for mainstream politics to wise up on learning difficulties

Progress on issues for people with learning difficulties needs to
be mirrored in mainstream services, Rob Greig, director of
implementation for the white paper Valuing People, told
delegates last week.

Despite positive changes, there was still a way to go to ensure
that the needs of people with learning difficulties were not
ignored by mainstream politics.

Greig said: “It’s about getting into the mindset that we no longer
put people with learning difficulties in a compartment called
‘learning difficulties dealt with by social services’.

“That along with the undeniable top priority of listening to people
with learning difficulties are the things we have to change.”

David Congdon, director of public affairs at learning difficulty
charity Mencap, questioned whether the government would be able to
deliver on its pledge to provide tailored services for every person
with learning difficulties.

Congdon said that half of the 90 social services departments
surveyed by Mencap this year reported that they did not have enough
day centre places and that the £22m allocated to implement the
white paper’s proposals would have to be increased substantially if
services for all were to be provided.

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