Learning Disabilities Services ‘Low Priority’

People with learning disabilities are low on the government’s list of priorities, charities have claimed, after new figures reveal a shocking withdrawal of services.

The Learning Disability Coalition found that many councils are restricting services for people with learning disabilities to only those who have a high level of need for social care.

This year, the number of councils who will only provide care to people with substantial or critical needs will increase from 53 per cent to 62 per cent, with over a dozen local authorities planning to change the criteria a person must meet for care.

Northumberland, West Berkshire and Wokingham councils will only provide social care services to people with a critical need – the highest level of need there is.

Only two councils are currently supplying social care services to people with learning disabilities who have low level needs.

Dame Jo Williams, co-chair of the Learning Disability Coalition and chief executive of Mencap, said: “These figures show the true extent of the crisis in social care. It is unacceptable that in the UK in the 21st Century, local authorities are refusing support to very vulnerable people with a learning disability who have no one else to turn to.”

Karen Flood, co chair of the Learning Disability Coalition and the National Forum for People with Learning Disabilities, added: “In spite of good policies from Government, the message is clear, people with a learning disability are low in their list of priorities and there is just not enough funding for basic services for people to live safely.”

She concluded: “We must make sure that the review of adult social care is based on sound evidence about the real level of demand.”