Government told people with learning difficulties must be higher priority

All areas of government need to give the needs of people with
learning difficulties greater priority, the government
taskforce’s first annual report has urged, writes
Anabel Unity Sale.

The report, ‘Making Things Happen’, praises the
department of health and the Valuing People support team for
championing the cause of people with learning difficulties, but
says more must be done.

It details the 11 areas monitored by the taskforce in the last
year following the publication of the government’s learning
disability white paper Valuing People in March 2001.

The taskforce says it is concerned the government will be unable
to close the last 21 long-stay hospitals in time for the April 2004
deadline, and that 500 people will remain in them. The report says:
“The NHS must look into this urgently and make sure all those
hospitals are closed.”

Chris Davies, taskforce co-chairperson and Somerset council’s
social services director, said: “Lots of good plans have been made.
But it is still too soon for much to have changed in the lives of
people with learning disabilities.”

He added that professionals and people with learning
difficulties are very worried there is not enough money to make all
of Valuing People’s plans happen, and that the taskforce will
look carefully at these concerns in the coming year.

For a full copy of the report
click here
and scroll to foot of page

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