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27 Aug 2016
John's Jolly Walking Group

We have had over 300 responses to the survey on the experience of people with learning disabilities with health services.   Most have been from people with learning disabilities and we have people replying from all over Scotland. 

Most people have been happy with their experience of health services.   This has applied to all 3 services that we asked about Doctors – Hospitals – NHS 24. 

They helped with my needs

I feel I got a good experience in hospital

The doctors are very good to me. I usually don't have to wait very long to see a doctor

People have reported that Doctors have been respectful and listened to them.  Staff in hospital have been nice and looked after them.    NHS 24 has responded quickly and helped people in need.    Read the full report here

Some problems were reported. 

Some Doctors didn’t listen to what people with learning disabilities had to say.  Some people find it hard to express what they are feeling and what is wrong with them and in these cases, the doctors may jump to conclusions. 

Doctors lack time to talk to me

Doctor surgery have tried to help me but hospital don't seem to be interested

A nurse didn't ask me but asked a stranger if I had a period. I asked for females but they still put on male staff

David Cameron is holding a vote for everyone in Britain to have a say in whether Britain should stay as part of the European Union.   The vote is on Thursday, 23rd of June 2016. leave or remain graphic

The European Union is a partnership of 28 countries.  In a partnership you have to make changes so that everyone gets along.   So Britain has made some changes to the way it works to get along with others.

Some people don't like this and want to leave.  Other people do like this and want to remain.  

We have produced a Short Easy Read guide to the European Referendum.  You can download it here.  

There will be more information available from the big campaigns.  Check back here to find out more in the next few months


In our last newsletter we published a report on official government statistics published in November 2015 which showed that there had been slow progress with Direct Payments despite all the effort with the introduction of Self Directed Support.  We said in the article that we couldn’t be sure until further statistics were published in 2016.

This additional information should have more on the other options included in Self Directed Support and allow everyone to make a better judgement on what has been happening- although the Scottish Government has already said that this information will be partial and will be published as “Data Under Development”.   However Falkirk Council has contacted us to express their concern that these figures do not accurately reflect their work.  

They have 24 people who are recorded as SDS Option 4 (mixed support options.) which if added to the 40 recorded in the Scottish Government statistics would mean that they had increased the number of Direct Payments users in 2014-15 to 64, an increase of 4 rather than a fall of 20.   Other councils may be in a similar position.

The changed position for Falkirk is made clear in the chart below.  The total number of Direct Payment recipients has increased in total by four in the last year.  However it is also true that the total number of Direct Payment recipients in Falkirk has increased in total by only 4 since 2005.  Overall hardly much of a change.    In fact, if Falkirk had been following the national trend of 10% increase in Direct Payments year on year before SDS, there should have been 66 people on Direct Payments and not 64!

The number of Direct Payment User in Falkirk over the last 10 years


Source:  Scottish Government Social Care Statistics 2015

Falkirk does have a very innovative Short Breaks service that really helps people make the most of respite opportunities.  This is the kind of project that many other councils should develop to make the most of Individual Service Funds.       

However the point of our article in December was to demonstrate that despite the large amounts of investment (Falkirk alone received £1.43 million from 2012 to 2014) and the new law and plenty of guidance, the landscape of choice for people who need support has not been radically changed.  As we said in December “So far, the jury is still out on SDS and we will look forward to the publication of more detailed SDS information [later this] year.”  



For the last 5 years campaigners have been fighting against the closure of the Independent Living Fund.  Disabled people were worried that ILF monies would be swallowed up by local councils who would reduce services or just count the ILF monies as part of their own income.  

In Scotland, it was thought the campaign was won with the launch of a new Scottish Independent Living Fund in May of this year.  

But this information from Glasgow indicates that at least one council is treating SILF funds as income to meet needs the council would normally fund.  

As a result individuals are losing control over money that the Scottish Government says should be theirs to spend on their care as they want.  

We need clearer rules about how local authorities treat SILF monies.  



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