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We are really pleased to tell you that a number of groups have helped to from the Learning Disability Alliance in England. There is no direct connection with the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland but they too will be a campaigning body and we look forward to working with them on any areas where we have joint concerns.
The Campaign for a Fair Society in England has come together with three other organisations to establish the Learning Disability Alliance:
- People First England, which represents people with learning disabilities
- Bringing Us Together, which represents families
- Housing & Support Alliance, which represents community organisations and professionals
The Scottish Government is changing how NHS Scotland and Councils work together to deliver adult health and social care services. It wants to make sure that people get the right services at the right time and that people’s money is spent on what people need.
The Scottish Government has brought in a new law which will make every council and health board form new Health and Social Care Partnerships. NHS Boards and Councils will share the responsibility for these partnerships.
People from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities are less likely to get a service than people from a White Scottish background.
While the census shows that that BME people make up 5.2% of the Scottish population, the national database on learning disability, ESAY show only 1.24% of people with learning disabilities are from a BME background.
There are some wide regional variations.
Many BME communities are well established in Scotland and are likely to have a similar incidence of learning disability in the population. As a result there has been a lack of clarity about what is going on. Fortunately a recent report from the Action Group on their work with people with learning disabilities has helped to provide some explanations.
BEMAS Transitions has worked with 50 young adults and their families since 2011. This is one of the largest projects of its kind in Scotland. The project was to help young people to set goals and to try and make them happen. In so doing, they would learn more about the barriers that people from BME communities face.
What they found makes worrying reading. Among the key barriers the project found were:
Lack of Access to Information and Support - Almost all disabled people and their families have a problem knowing what services and supports are available. This is made worse for people from BME communities. Some have English as a second language. Others have come from another country with very different social infrastructure systems and different terminology. Previous experiences of discrimination when using other services has made others fearful of dealing with a new organisation.
Dozens of people with learning disabilities carried the commonwealth baton in different parts of Scotland as the whole country joined in the build up.
But what will happen after the Commonwealth Games for other people with learning disabilities. We know some people with profound disabilities will be moving to stay in the Commonwealth Village. The new housing will be adapted to have the right equipment and layout to support some of our most vulnerable citizens.
But a long running sore in Glasgow concerning the Accord Centre still remains to be sorted. Despite an energetic campaign, the centre was demolished to build a car and coach park for the 4 week period of the games.
People who used the Accord moved temporarily to a local community centre and were promised that space would be created in the new Aquatic Centre after the games were finished.
The Scottish Government said they would put up £150,000 to make this happen. But now Glasgow City Council say they only agreed to provide enhanced disabled access to Tollcross, which they say has been achieved with the installation of changing facilities, height adjustable benches and electric hoists.
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!