Birmingham damned for ‘woefully inadequate’ care of deaf woman

Local government ombudsman Anne Seex has issued a damning ruling against Birmingham Council for providing “woefully inadequate” services to a young deaf woman with learning disabilities.

The woman, known as Miss D, had been treated with indignity at a foster home paid for by the council’s adult learning disability service. She was not allowed to use sign language, punished for private sexual expression and prescribed drugs to reduce her libido that made her overweight and sluggish.

The case was brought to the attention of learning disability charity Mencap by Miss D’s former foster sister, known as Mrs B, who vigorously campaigned on her behalf. An adult protection investigation in 2004 eventually forced a comprehensive assessment of Miss D’s needs and she was moved to a new home.

Seex called on the council to pay Miss D £5,000 in compensation and £1,250 to Mrs B for the time taken in her pursuit of the complaint. Mencap also received a donation of £1,250 for its role. In addition, the authority has been told to audit its provision of care to adults with learning disabilities.

Birmingham Council accepted that it had failed in its duty to Miss D. Sue Anderson, cabinet member for adults and communities, said: “Miss D suffered from years of poor services in a system characterised by bad performance, financial crisis and staffing shortages.”

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