Disabled people ‘losing autonomy’

The social care system’s increasing focus on acute care is leaving millions of disabled people with no control over their lives, the Disability Rights Commission has said.

In a scathing report last week, it warned the gap between those receiving support and those needing it was widening as a result of tightening eligibility criteria.

This was leaving disabled people “in a state of suspended animation”, unable to visit friends or go out. The DRC said 70 per cent of councils were only providing services to people with “critical” or “substantial” needs, while 80 per cent of them expect to further tighten eligibility criteria in the coming year.

A recent DRC/Ipsos MORI survey found that more people are now supported by family and friends than by local authorities.

“Social care is a cat’s cradle of costly red tape that could be better spent supporting independence,” said Bert Massie, DRC chairman. Massie said Lord Ashley of Stoke’s Disabled Persons (Independent Living) Bill would help to ensure support fully met need.

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