Charities call for ringfenced funds

The Department of Health is being urged to ringfence funds of
£20m to develop learning difficulty services because the money
is being spent elsewhere.

DoH estimates reveal that only £13m has been spent despite the
department prioritising the use of the money for learning
difficulty services.

John Knight, head of external policy at charity Leonard Cheshire,
said: “People with learning disabilities always rank fairly low
when it comes to allocations of funds. Ringfencing is an anathema
to this government, and although I can understand the argument that
you should respect the autonomy of NHS trusts, the interests of the
end user must be paramount.”

The Learning Disability Development Fund was introduced as part of
a national programme to support the delivery of Valuing People. The
£20m was allocated to strategic health authorities as part of
their strategic capital allocations.

Bill Robbins, secretary of the disability committee at the
Association of Directors of Social Services, said while SHAs needed
flexibility they should be asked to account for exactly how they
have spent the fund.

“Whenever the government makes these national allocations, it fails
to monitor their transfer to the end user,” he added.

A DoH spokesperson said there is no current plan to ringfence money
for learning difficulties.

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