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02 Sep 2016
Forth Valley Stronger Together

We are pleased to announce that our October Newsletter has just been published.  You can download a copy of the newsletter in pdf version here or an audio version to listen to here.  

Our first article is about  our new Health Survey.  People with learning disabilities die earlier than almost every other part of the population and generally enjoy poor health.   We are asking people with learning disabilities, their families and paid staff to tell us what their experience has been and what can make it better. We want to find out what lies behind the numbers.   You will be able to answer a short questionnaire, tell us your story, come to meetings to talk to other people about these and share ways of making things better.   You can take part at www.tinyurl.com/LDASsurvey 

Our second article is about the new Care Charging consultation.  Siobhan McMahon MSP has launched a new consultation on whether we need more legislation to end care charges.  We are encouraging people to respond.  We also have more news from the Petitions Committee.   

Our third article is about the a range of measures to cut services in Edinburgh.    This caused a lot of concern in Edinburgh over the summer and as we note in the article, wiser people have stopped much of these but there are still a number of worrying measures in place.    

Finally there is a short note in the printed newsletter that we will be launching a national survey in the autumn of this year to find out the experience of people with learning disabilities and their families about the treatment they have had from the NHS. 

All our online articles can be read aloud simply by highlighting the text and then clicking it.  

 

We are pleased to announce that our December Newsletter has just been published.  You can download a copy of the newsletter in pdf version here or an audio version to listen to here.  

Our first article is about the strange case of the extra millions.  We have discovered that one council has been overstating the amount of money that they have been collecting in social care charges by millions of pounds.  There are implications here for how the Independent Living Fund monies are being treated by local councils.  

Our second article questions whether Self Directed Support is stalling in Scotland.  The first figures showing progress of SDS in Year One have been published.  They show that growth in Direct Payment is less than happened before the introduction of SDS and in some councils the actual numbers getting Direct Payments has fallen dramatically.  

Our third article shows reports on a great success.  LDAS has been working with families in Dundee whose children used to attend Kingspark School.  They have had many concerns over the use of restraint on disabled children and have now managed to secure a promise of the new guidance that they have been looking for.  

Finally can we wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.   

All our online articles can be read aloud simply by highlighting the text and then clicking it.  

 

The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland June newsletter has been published today.  If you want to listen to a copy you can click on the audio version here.  

The first article is on the large number of older and disabled people all over Scotland who are unable or unwilling to pay care charges for social care services.  Read it here

The second article looks at the planned cuts in learning disability services planned by local councils in the current financial year.  Read it here.  

And remember you can have all the articles on our website read aloud by highlighting the text and then clicking on it

A recent petition was heard at the Scottish Parliament arguing that there should be more care home provision for people with profound learning disabilities.  (see our full response

As an organisation we do not think people with learning disabilities flourish in large care homes.  Small care homes for 4 or 5 people can be indistinguishable from many ordinary houses in the community and can allow individual many more opportunities to be part of the local society.  Small care homes also offer their residents regular opportunities for social interactions which may be hard for them in other situations.  

Scot Excel, the Scottish procurement body has already taken on comments like this and is currently finalising a framework agreement to improve the quality of new care services that are purchased by local authorities to meet the needs to people with learning disabilities that they are responsible for.  

The official figures say  the numbers who stay in care homes for people with learning disabilities fell by about 20% in the 3 years up to 2014.  However almost half of this fall is due to just 5 big homes changing— 2 homes closed because of poor quality care and 3 homes changed their client groups to others such as “older people”.  

We are already know that many other people with learning disabilities end up in large homes registered for older people.   Currently there are 250 large homes registered for older people (over 20 residents) supporting up to 1,000 adults with learning disabilities.  

With many local authorities setting a maximum rate for individual Self Directed Support Budgets at the level of the local residential care home rate, we think this means that there will be more pressure on people with greater needs to move into residential care homes.  

We must plan properly for people’s needs and stop placing people on the basis of where there is a vacancy.  

 

Ivan Cohen and John Booker went up to the Scottish Parliament to interview three leading politicians to find out what difference this election will make for people with learning disabilities.  Each politician was given 2 minutes to make their case.    A short video is available on our website but here are some of the policy highlights.

Mary Scanlon MSP for the Conservatives said

  • We want more resources for people with special needs.
  • We would want more investment in Further Education to help people with learning disabilities. 
  • We need to make sure people with learning disabilities get the right help and support to get into work 
  • We support welfare reform but many people with learning disabilities will get more help as the reviews show they need more help than they got in the past.  

Stewart Hosie MP for the SNP said

  • We are committed to people with learning disabilities having active equal lives.  
  • The Scottish Government passed the Self Directed Support which helps people live full and independent lives
  • The UK Government should  stop the roll out of the Personal Independence Payment
  • We are working with the NHS, Cosla and charities to help people badly affected by welfare reform and will put as much money as we can into helping them

Jim Murphy MP for Scottish Labour said

  • We’ll ban zero hour contracts and introduce an £8 an hour minimum wage
  • We’ll also keep the Disability Employment Advisers to make it easier to get into work in the first place.    
  • We’ll make sure that Disability Hate Crime becomes a specific offence
  • We will involve people with disabilities in reviewing the Work Capability Assessment  and  clear the backlog of people waiting for Personal Independence Payment

You can get lots more information about the General Election on our website such as Easy Read manifestos and  the very popular “The People Speak” video showing what people with learning disabilities think about the General Election and who they are going to vote for.  

 

Subcategories

Please note that all our videos are hosted on You Tube.  Problems have been reported with their subtitling system that can mean rude words sometimes appear.  We apologise for this and recommend that you do not use the You Tube subtitle service.  If you do so it will be at your own risk.