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|28 Jun 2016|
Dundee Stronger Together
New research by LDAS has discovered a serious error in the way social care charges are being calculated in Scotland's largest local authority. For over 5 years, we have raised concerns about the veracity of COSLA figures for the amount of income collected in non-residential social care charges. Glasgow claimed to raise over £16 million annually but the next nearest is South Lanarkshire with only a slightly smaller population but raising just £2 million. Our concern that the Glasgow figure could not possibly be correct was raised with senior local authority finance people but nothing was done.
New information we received in the last few weeks shows that Glasgow’s self-directed support care management information software, CareFirst 6, wraps up individual contributions along with their Independent Living Fund monies and declares it as a single contribution from each client. .
Senior Glasgow finance staff have now confirmed that the ILF contributions of 254 clients with a learning disability, a total of £5.3 million are included in their figures for income from care charges. And there are a further 310 service users in Glasgow with physical disabilities who receive ILF and whose ILF is similarly treated within the financial figures. This means that at least £10 million and possibly as much as £14 million of ILF monies have been declared as income from non-residential social care charges by Glasgow for at least the last 6 years. Actual income from care charges in Scotland’s largest city may be only £2-3 million per year rather than the £16 million claimed in the last financial year.
According to OLM, the company responsible for this software, a further 13 Scottish councils use the CareFirst system ranging from Highlands to East Dunbartonshire. As a result there is a possibility that the COSLA figure for income from care charges is further inflated by the inclusion of ILF funds in this part of the local government finance statistics from other areas.
This matters because artificially inflated figures will make it seem harder for the Scottish Government to end social care charges. Time to correct the sums!
 http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/councillorsandcommittees/viewDoc.asp?c=P62AFQDXNT0GUTZL – this report notes that £14.5 million is received by service users in Glasgow from the ILF. But we believe the figure involved in this error is lower as many pre 1993 ILF users are not known to local authorities.
The new Changing Places map has been launched www.changingplacesmap.org.uk
The Friends of Barrhead and Thornliebank Resource Centres who were campaigning to save both their local day centres have put out the following statement from East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership who have now decided to keep o[en both centres.
Please read the very brief statement below from the East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership - it is an excellent result for the group but the statement also demonstrates our need to keep together and to keep engaging with them as the centres start to change.
We will thank all the individuals and organisations who have offered their support over the last years - ERDA, PAMIS, Learning Disability Alliance,Downs Syndrome Society, SDSForumER, carers' representatives, MSPs etc
This is a great group and we have made a significant impact in East Renfrewshire....( and beyond - some Glasgow carers rightly feeling even more now that they were never listened to.)
LEARNING DISABILITY DAY SERVICES
In February this year the Council approved a range of savings measures proposed by the HSCP including £90k which we hoped to achieve by the closure of one of our learning disability day centre buildings. We saw this as a natural consequence of our vision and strategy for daytime activities for people with learning disabilities. That vision, which we had been developing over a number of years, was for people with learning disabilities to access a much wider range of community based options, from volunteering to employment and participating in a wider range of community activities with support. Our intent was to work with a range of groups and agencies to develop alternatives that met the aspirations of people with learning disabilities to live good lives. It was also a good fit with self directed support, where more personalised support arrangements – perhaps with alternative providers, would evolve over time.
People with learning disabilities die on average 20 years earlier than the people that live around them irrespective of wealth, earning or geographical location.
Some of this is due to nearly 7 out of every 10 people with learning disabilities having other health conditions. The link of Downs Syndrome to early onset dementia and heart problems is well known. Less well known is the occurence of a physical disability, mental health conditions or long term illnesses in other people with learning disabilities.
Some of the things that would make people healthier are well known. More exercise and healthy diets. Easy to say but much harder to do.
Recent research into the Scottish Government’s “Walk Well” programme found that there was no lasting change for people with learning disabilities through using it. This was a 12 week programme that introduced people to walking in a structured way but when people with learning disabilities finished the course, they rarely had support workers in place who had the time to help them continue the walking programme.
People with learning disabilities have spoken about how they find “good food” to be more expensive and when they do try and buy cheaper natural ingredients it is hard for them to prepare cooked meals using these.
But health care is about much more than this, it is about the help from doctors, hospitals and NHS ‘24. In our last newsletter we wrote about Stephen Armstrong’s treatment in hospital. Many things went wrong for Stephen even though he had the support that people thought he needed.
Many people feel they have great treatment from the NHS. The nurses and doctors are nice and speak to them respectfully. There are health passports, both in booklet form and electronically. There are special nurses that are trained to help people with learning disabilities available all over Scotland.
But as Robert Burns once said, “facts are chiels that winna ding and downa be disputed.” Facts are stubborn. People with learning disabilities die earlier than the rest of the population, their health needs are often diagnosed late and many people have poor lifestyles.
So what’s going wrong? To be honest no one is really sure. We need you to tell us what is right and wrong for you or the people you support. We will find out what is happening all over Scotland and put the answers together to help make better plans for the future.
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.
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