Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Learning disability charity calls on new government to act to address social care funding crisis

moneyThe new government, led by Theresa May, should act to address the funding crisis in social care, according to a learning disability charity.

FitzRoy made this call after a report by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) found that there is a gap in social care funding to fill of about £940 million just to keep services operating at last year’s levels – for all of those people who need them.

ADASS’ report also found that 52 of the 151 local authorities had to cut services in order to balance the books last year.

FitzRoy staff say they are seeing the drastic effects of long-term decline in social care funding, and are fighting to ensure they can provide people with the support they need to live fulfilling lives with choice and independence.

Julie Bruce, FitzRoy regional manager said: “We are fighting for every last penny just to get someone the support they need particularly in residential care. Day service provision is also under threat. People we support are being encouraged to take a break from their day services, but they don’t realise that that once they agree to a break they are unlikely to get their service back, however isolated they are at home. There is scant attention paid to the resulting behavioural and health problems. We’ve seen people being ‘retired’ from services who were fit and active for their age, have spent their adult life in the company of their peers, but are now suffering loneliness as they have little opportunity to leave their house.

“We know a man with a visual impairment and challenging behaviour who had to move into a supported living service when his mother’s health deteriorated. Overnight, his funding dropped from three and a half days with staff he knew well, to just four hours a week. There was little thought as to how that loss of support from people he knew well might affect him and he had no say in the matter.

“Transport is another area where we see the cuts biting. People used to have funding to travel far and wide to find the support that best suited them, but now they have to attend their nearest day service. Recently we were working with a young man with complex needs, helping him to transition from school. His parents were anxious about him leaving school and they tried to get him a place with our Day Service, as more change would be traumatic for him. Sadly the answer was no, they would not fund the transport.”

FitzRoy is urging policy makers to take notice of this report, and how the cuts are affecting people in many different ways, can make changes before the damage takes hold.

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