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Last year’s buzz was Self Directed Support—It was going to change everyone’s life by letting them have more control over their own lives. Now as the results turn out to be much more mundane. Most people end up with exactly the same service or just less of it, the buzz is now Health and Social Care integration. Surely if we all work together then that will make things better.
It all sounds a bit desperate to us and already stories are emerging of exactly how poor health and social work are at working together.
Kathleen Ward from Fife, who has learning difficulties broke her back tripping on a damaged kerb. There was a big bit missing out the kerb which she didn’t see and she fell right down on to the road. Her back is broken in three places.
While she is ready to go home, she is stuck in Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital as Fife Council has told her family that they won’t fund care for her at home. She previously lived in her own home with support but will now need much more support.
She may have to face going into a care home. We have heard similar stories from South Lanarkshire and other areas. Of course, many people are now worried integration will just be a short cut for taking people from community placements and steering them into inappropriate care home placements.
To add insult to injury, guess who was responsible for not fixing the broken kerb that caused Kathleen’s accident – Fife Council!
One of LDAS's members has won a very important award for their work on harassment and bullying. There were winners of the 2014 Frances Nelson MBE Awards in Tayside.
Us and Housing are a group of people with learning disabilities who came together in June 2011 at a conference to discuss housing issues. The conference showed that people suffered daily discrimination which led to group to work with Perth & Kinross Council to produce an educational DVD and learning resources to challenge injustice and inequality. The DVD titled ‘It Goes On and On and On’ is a series of short dramas that explore and expose the discrimination faced by people with learning disabilities. A clip from the DVD can be viewed on the TIS website at www.tis.org.uk.
An Arbroath family have organised a ‘Loo Tour de Britain’ to follow on from the Tour de France in Yorkshire. This family have teenage twins, Kelsey and Kein, with muscular dystrophy and require Changing Places toilets. Their uncle, Grant Speed, has organised the tour to raise awareness of Changing Places toilets and to raise money for the installation of a CP toilet in Arbroath and is cycling from Leeds to Arbroath, starting on Monday July 7th.
We are looking for volunteers to join the ‘tour’ at Murrayfield, Edinburgh, including the twins mother, Lois, on Friday 11th July at 8am to cycle to the Tay bridge (or as far as you can manage).
The cyclists will be passing through Fife, stopping at Lochore Meadows for coffee and to publicise the CP toilets in Fife.
A week ago the Audit Commission published its report on "Self Directed Support". It found that there was a mixed picture across Scotland about how well councils were preparing. As usual in reports of this kind, there were plenty of positive stories about how Self Directed Support is helping people make a change in their lives.
But there are plenty of other stories which paint a much bleaker picture. Yesterday LDAS spoke to the mother of John, who has severe autism and learning disabilities. He actually has a good service right now that helps him live a much better life. But it does cost a lot. The local council is now working on a reassessment programme for those who already get services. John has been given his first indicative budget for planning his care under SDS. It was a range budget of between 25% adn 50% of the cost of the current service.
His mum explained that John psychiatrist, his GP and up to last week the social worker had been happy with his current service but on this new budget he would no longer be able to use the service. Here's a snippet from the conversation.
Mum: How did you arrive at this budget for John?
Social Worker: The computer told us.
Mum: How did the computer know what was needed to meet John's needs?
Social Worker: We feed lots of very complicated things into it and then it tell us what is a fair budget.
Only now after Mum getting external help is there a prospect of this budget being changed.
There used to be an old saying in the early days of computers if the data put into a computer was wrong, then the answer it fed out would also be wrong. The computer cannot make a judgement, it only produces results. Such stories as John's rarely make it into official reports but unless they are taken seriously we are storing up problems.
If we are serious about transforming social care in Scotland we perhaps need to be a little better about thinking about real people and a little bit less obsessed with the latest computer system or spreadsheet.