The government’s target to move people with learning disabilities out of NHS campuses by the end of 2010 could be extended if service users are not found the right placements.
That was the message from Anne Williams, national director for learning disabilities at the Department of Health, in a speech atCommunity Care LIVE.
She said there were “very clear expectations” for campuses to close by the target date, which was set in January 2006, but service users “should not be victims of a lack of planning” by councils and the NHS.
No let up
“Although we don’t want any let up in planning we must do it carefully,” she said.
“We would rather miss the target and get it right for people.”
Most service users would be moved by the end of 2010, she said, adding that authorities would have to explain any delays on a “person by person” basis.
But she raised concerns that decisions were being made about campus residents from “an organisational point of view” rather than being directed by their needs.
She said she was “shocked” to find local authorities building residential care homes for people with learning disabilities in some areas and cited “huge variations” in council learning disability spending, with the proportion spent on residential care ranging from 11% to 80%.
• Interview with co-director for learning disabilities Scott Watkin