Charity call for learning disability ‘sector deal’ to stimulate innovation

The Government is being urged to tackle the crisis in social care through the increased use of so-called assistive technologies to help people with learning disabilities and improve the skills of workers in the sector.

Learning disabilities charity Hft called for an economic partnership with the Government as part of its Industrial Strategy.

Its report said a “sector deal” was needed for the learning disability sector to stimulate innovation and investment and bring financial sustainability to providers.

Technology is available to help people live independently, such as special key fobs or alarms, said Hft.

The charity will use at event in Westminster on Monday to launch its “virtual smarthouse” which uses assistive technology which vulnerable people can use around their home to improve their independence and safety.

Chief executive Robert Longley-Cook (pictured) said the learning disability sector faces a £5 billion funding gap by 2020 as local authority spending has not kept up with increased demand.

“With the funding crisis affecting the sustainability of adult social care, the sector and the Government must come together to negotiate a learning disability sector deal.

“Assistive technology has a key part to play in bridging that gap. Effective investment could transform the way support is delivered to people with learning disabilities and increase their independence, ultimately freeing up staff to focus on more meaningful support.”

Hft supports almost 3,000 adults with learning disabilities in England and Wales.

Gavin Bashar, of Tunstall Healthcare, which supported the report, added that not enough people with learning difficulties were benefiting from the advantages that assistive technology can bring.

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