The leaders of the UK’s biggest providers of care for people with learning disabilities have warned that care standards will slip back if the Government does not provide more funding for vital services, with a risk to the transformation agenda prompted by the Winterbourne View scandal. Their calls have been backed by the former Care Minister, Norman Lamb MP, who is calling on the Government to do more to support the UK’s most vulnerable people.
Launching a ‘Care Crisis Manifesto’ today to mark the start of an intensive campaign to secure better funding for people with learning disabilities, a new coalition of learning disability providers has warned that care packages are already being withdrawn across the country by quality providers, because they cannot continue to provide the care that their clients need at the prices paid by commissioners.
Learning disability care is delivered in a different way from other forms of adult social care, meaning that providers cannot drive further efficiencies to reduce costs. There are virtually no self-funders in their services so they have only one customer: The Government.
The Manifesto calls on the Government to give councils the freedom to raise more funds for learning disability services without having to hold a referendum, as well as increasing funding from central Government by allowing learning disability providers access to the Better Care Fund.
The Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, former Minister of State for Community and Social Care and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Health, said:
“In other parts of the world, being born with a learning disability puts one at risk of being rejected from society, institutionalised and cruelly abused. In Britain, millions of dedicated carers and professionals have worked hard to ensure that people with care needs are able to live at the heart of their community and lead a full life, as independently as possible.
“The Government is burying its head in the sand over a growing crisis in our communities, where our most vulnerable citizens risk losing vital care and support. We must not let the clocks to turn back to the days before personalised and high quality support became the norm. That’s why I welcome this manifesto by Learning Disability Voices as an important contribution to the debate on how we might secure a proper settlement from the Government, to ensure that the sector can continue to provide the quality care that people need and deserve.”
Diane Lightfoot, Director of Policy & Communications at care charity United Response and Co-Chair of ‘Learning Disability Voices’, a new coalition of charities, not-for-profits and companies providing learning disability care across the UK, said:
“After the horror of the Winterbourne View revelations, the Government rightly recognised that community care is the best environment for people with learning disabilities. But if the funding is not available for us to transition people into the community safely and effectively, the Transforming Care agenda will fail, with devastating consequences.
“With care packages being withdrawn across the country and quality providers leaving the sector, The Government’s response to this funding crisis has been inadequate. Without action soon, the most vulnerable people in society will be let down. We want to be able to continue to provide high quality, personalised care to ensure their dignity and independence, but we cannot operate at a loss in the long term.”
To read the Learning Disability Voices Manifesto in full click here.