Ivan Lewis: ‘Smooth transition’ to community for learning disabled

Care services minister Ivan Lewis has announced the allocation of a £96m fund to help people with learning disabilities move from NHS campuses into accommodation in the community.

Lewis said the money, which has been ring-fenced until 2011, will allow local authorities and primary care trusts to ensure a “smooth transition” for people with learning disabilities living in campuses. This will include help to get people into employment, specialist healthcare and provision of community-based activities, and the funding will also support people who have already moved out of campuses.

Campuses are NHS-run group homes, often clustered together, where residents are classed as in-patients and evidence has shown they have less independence than in other types of accommodation. They were typically created to house people moved out of long-stay hospitals and the DH estimates there are up 1,800 people still living in them.

More money for south of England

Counties in the south of England, including Cornwall, Hampshire, Kent and Surrey, have received the biggest chunks of funding due to their greater concentration of NHS campuses. The funding – to help the Department of Health meet its target of closing all NHS campuses by 2010 – was divided up according to a census carried out earlier this year on the numbers in campus accommodation as of April 2001. This was to ensure that people who have already moved out of campuses would also receive support.

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