Promise to tackle access to banks

The government has pledged to improve access to financial services
for people with learning difficulties.

Its annual report on learning difficulties said that people had
problems opening bank accounts and more could be done to help them.

“One of the things that people have told us about direct payments
is that people [with learning difficulties] are having problems
with accounts,” the report says. “The government will discuss with
the British Bankers Association what can be done to make opening
bank accounts easier.”

The government has also promised to investigate ways to ensure
people with learning difficulties are aware that, under the new GP
contract, people can ask for a health check if they haven’t seen a
doctor in the past three years.

It also confirmed that the Valuing People target of closing
long-stay hospitals by April 2004 would not be met and the final
establishment would close in April 2006.

“There is a two-year delay, but it is better that people’s lives
don’t suffer because there is a rush to close the hospitals,” the
report says.

The Department of Health will begin work with the Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on research to improve access
to services for people with learning difficulties living in rural

It will also provide the staff at the Immigration and Nationality
Department with more information about how to work with people with
learning difficulties.

– Report is available from

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