Exclusive: Valuing People targets not being met

    An extra £41 million funding for learning difficulties
    services was announced by the government last week, but an
    investigation by Community Care has found that many local
    authorities are still failing to meet key Valuing People targets,
    writes Maria Ahmed.

    Three quarters of the 20 long-stay hospitals for people with
    learning difficulties that missed the original April 2004 deadline
    for closure are still open almost a year on.

    Five of these – the Orchard Hill hospital in Sutton, the Gloucester
    centre in Peterborough, Prudhoe and Northgate hospitals in
    Northumberland and the Princess Marina hospital in Northampton are
    also situated within areas showing poor performance on direct
    payments.

    Northumberland and Northamptonshire Councils were identified by
    the Commission for Social Care Inspection as requiring “urgent
    investigation” into their provision of direct payments in the
    social services performance assessment framework indicators for
    2003-4. Sutton and Peterborough Councils were said to need to be
    questioned about their performance.

    The Valuing People support team is expected to report on the
    progress towards the closure of long-stay hospitals and the
    provision of direct payments to community care minister Stephen
    Ladyman in its annual report due out next month.

    The majority of institutions still open told Community
    Care
    they were “in the process” of moving residents out and
    were “confident” of meeting the new April 2006 deadline for
    closure.

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