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24 Jan 2017
Dundee Stronger Together


We have had a look at the first three manifestos from the parties in the last Scottish Parliament for the May 2016 election.  Only the Lib Dems, Greens and the Scottish Conservatives have published these so far.  We expect that the other parties will publish over the next couple of weeks.  

 We hope that they will publish full Easy Read version for those that want to read them but we have gone through the manifestos and spotted the main policies that will affect people with learning disabilities and those that support them and put them into Easy Read.  This requires us to miss some things out so please feel free to let us know if there are particular policy areas that you might be interested in.

We hope this is straightforward to use and that it will be helpful in speaking to any candidates you meet or come across in hustings over the next few weeks.  Similar version for the 2 remaining parties will follow in due course. 

 The Scottish Green Party Easy Read

The Scottish Conservative Party Easy Read

The Liberal Democratic Party Easy Read

They tried to help me daughter with a pre visit.   But in the end this made no difference.

She was put in a unit where there was a clown entertaining the other patients.  She is frightened of clowns.  The nurses had been told noise is an issue but nothing was done about the clown. 

I asked if she could be taken down stairs as she kept asking for tea which would have helped to settle her.  I was told “No.  There is no more tea being done till next morning.”   I had been told she could drink up till 8 o’clock but they still told me “No as she could get burnt”.  I told them her tea is usually 90% milk and I had a spouted cup and I would supervise her at all times.  They still refused.

She normally has her medicine at 8.30 and I asked if she could have hers first as this would calm her and get her to sleep.  However the nurses started drugs at opposite end of ward.  It was 10.30 before she finally got her meds.  By this time she was in a state and I was asked if I could calm her down as other patients needed sleep.   But she was in a four bed unit with only one other patient.  At the same time the next unit had only just had TVs and lights turned off.  Anyway my daughter was awake all night.

Next day after her operation she was put in single room where we were forgot about.   I eventually had to ask a nurse if she could sit with her so I could get to the toilet and have something to drink as I had nothing since I arrived the night before.  I had to wait an hour.   In the event I was out of the ward for only 15 mins as the canteen was closed and all I managed to get was a cold drink.

On my return to the room my daughter was hanging out of bed as she tried to get out but got stuck because of the drips and the sling her leg was in.  There was no nurse anywhere despite the alarm going off.    When the consultant came, I asked to be sent home as we were both stressed and the stay was making matters worse.  But they kept us two more days until she was off morphine before agreeing to let us home.



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.”  




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