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Blog


‘Shock’ Report on Mortality Rates

Having recently attended events organised by Public Health England around the topic of how to improve the health and consequent life expectancy of people with a learning disability, and aware of the findings of previous  research on the issue stretching back beyond the Marmot Report of 2010, (sadly) I was not surprised by the contents of a report just published (5th Nov) by University College London (UCL) Institute of Health Equity (IHE), entitled ‘A Fair, Supportive Society’

This is how the Press Release for the Report introduced its findings:

Shocking new report on children with learning disabilities: Half aren’t diagnosed in childhood; those who are won’t collect their pension.

A new report published today, 5 November, by the UCL Institute of Health Equity (IHE) shows the Government’s emphasis on ‘fairness’ and fixing a ‘broken society’ has failed, catastrophically, for hundreds of thousands of children with learning disabilities. The IHE report A fair, Supportive Society shows the most vulnerable in society – those with learning disabilities – will die 15-­‐20 years sooner on average than the general population –that’s 1,200 people every year.
More shocking, explains the IHE’s Director, Professor Sir Michael Marmot, is the fact that this difference is not an inevitable consequence of the underlying condition that led to the learning disability…
It may be depressing; but it pays to read the Press Release in full
The Report itself, available on line here.  Perhaps, just take a look at its Executive Summary and  Recommendations (pages 6-9)
As Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the IHE states: Much of the action to improve the social determinants of health for those with learning disabilities will also improve health for others at higher risk of ill health because of social disadvantage. Therefore the actions recommended here will not only improve lives and health outcomes for a highly vulnerable group, people with learning disabilities, but could also help to reduce inequalities in health across thepopulation. The time to act is now.”

 

 

Reaction as Government Proposes Amendments to the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill

The Bill is progressing through Parliament, and reached the report stage this week (21st Nov).

Ahead of this milestone, the Government has now published its amendments to the Bill.

These amendments are described by Alex Ruck Keene as ‘long-awaited’ in his post on the Mental Capacity Law and Policy website .

Thankfully for the lay-person, Alex cites a concise 10-point summary of the amendments by fellow expert Tim Spencer-Lane. Worth reading! Continue reading

Minister orders review of treatment of ‘patients’ in secure hospitals

Headline on Sky News website last week (4th Nov):

More than 2,300 people have been treated in secure hospitals since 2015 where practices include the seclusion of patients”.

Please read the full story

Continue reading

Some Brief but Interesting Thoughts on the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill

Legal expert and blogger Lucy Series has just published a brief blog post on the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill.

It is brief because she is on holiday – hence the title ‘Some thoughts from the Lakes’!  But its brevity makes it eminently readable.

Lucy  describes her and others’ concerns about the Bill; essentially its lack of clarity, its deviation from the Law Commission proposals and its potential to limit vulnerable people’s access to justice.

Continue reading

A Healthy Way of Life…

Now receiving some feedback from posts and blogs on learning disability and/or autism, and health and obesity.

One correspondent with experience of the Camphill movement , and of Botton village in particular,  drew our attention to the evidence submitted by the Botton Village Families Group (BVLG), firstly at its ‘Choice for Intentional Community’ presentation to MPs and peers in Sept 2015, and latterly to the Parliamentary Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee in 2017 during its Inquiry into Social Care: specifically, to a paper submitted by Dr Marcus van Dam, of the Danby Surgery, North Yorkshire (the surgery which serves Botton Village), entitled ‘A healthy way of life’. Dr van Dam’s article is concise, and makes for an interesting read. It also gives some background information on Botton (up to 2015). Continue reading

The care system remains twisted…

Further to a posting a week ago citing two articles in the ‘i’ by journalist Ian Birrell, in which we observed that “Ian is clearly seething with rage, and we suspect and hope that he will not give up on this issue”, we can report that a further article by Ian appeared on Sunday 28th October (and with a slight reworking on the 29th Oct in the Monday edition of the ‘i’).

The article headlined “Young people are being locked away for years because they have autism and learning disabilities. Some never make it out.” is available to read here. When re-published a day later the headline ran “The care system remains twisted – Incarcerating people with learning difficulties is inhumane”

Please read the article: Ian reports that his citing the case of ‘Beth’ three weeks ago, prompted a response from the Health Secretary and Beth’s removal ‘from solitary’; but he has clearly been informed (by parents and family carers) of many others who have been ‘interned’ in hospitals and short-stay(?!) facilities. Ian describes their stories as Dickensian, and clearly feels that the agenda for change post-Winterbourne has failed.
Continue reading

EHRC: UK’s lack of compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – “deeply concerning”.

We have written previously about the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  online here and in our members newsletter (Resnews). For the UK, the road to compliance has been long and winding, and I’m still not sure if ‘we’ are much further forward.  Sadly it was not surprising a few weeks ago (10th Oct.) to read  the headline “The treatment of disabled people in the UK is getting worse, according to a highly critical report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)”,  introducing a thoroughly depressing analysis of lack of progress .

The headline appeared above an article on the website of the Rights Info, a voluntary organisation set up about two years ago produce ‘engaging, accessible and beautifully-presented online human rights content’ i.e. something the layman could understand. (The website has a discreet section on Disability and Human Rights which is worth a browse).

Continue reading

Evaluation of Named Social Worker (NSW) Pilot concluded. What next?

In 2016, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) initiated the Named Social Worker (NSW) pilot ‘to build an understanding of how a named social worker can help to improve outcomes for individuals with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions’. The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)  was commissioned to run the pilot scheme in 6 locations

The Pilot has now concluded, and the SCIE  has reported on its findings – details here. The Report is generally favourable, having analysed three area of impact: Impact on the individuals and the people around them, Impact on the named social workers, Impact on the wider system.

This is how the SCIE summarised the pilot’s results:

Continue reading

Journalist Ian Birrell rages at treatment of people with PDA and autism.

Two recent articles in the i by the journalist Ian Birrell have left us here at Rescare angry, but to be honest not too surprised.

Please read them, since they highlight what is a national scandal and disgrace. Ian is clearly seething with rage, and we suspect and hope that he will not give up on this issue. It is a minor comfort to read that some politicians have heard his cries and taken up the issue.

Brace yourself, and read the following two article which appeared within two weeks of each other:

7th Oct 2018:  A teen with autism is locked in solitary confinement and being fed through a hatch. Have we really moved on from Bedlam?

We hope this blog post contributes however slightly to highlighting the issue Ian Burrell raises.
(Further to recent posts and updates by Rescare on Learning Disability, Health and Obesity, may I just highlight a single paragraph from Ian’s second article: “Despite huge sums of public money spent to place her in a supposed safe space, her weight was allowed to soar. Staff said they tried to encourage her to eat well – yet one week, she ate nothing but ice cream. Stephanie was 13 stone when shut away. Seven years later, her weight had doubled – and she was dead. She died from heart failure and sleep apnoea caused by obesity.”

Public Health England, the NHS, and People with Learning Disabilities

Last week I attended a conference in Birmingham organised by Public Health England , entitled ‘Public health and people with learning disabilities: national evidence for local action’.

There was a wide range of attendees, including people with learning disabilities with their carers and families, representatives from the voluntary sector and charities such as Rescare, Autistica, the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, together with many representatives of the NHS and local government from across England. There was even one observer  from Ireland!

The broad aim of the conference was to assist Public Health England in deciding what proposals it should present to NHS England for improvements in the health care and health outcomes of people with learning disability and/or autism.

At this point I should remind you that in August, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS. the government announced specific extra funding to achieve improvements in four ‘sectors’, one of which was learning disability.  There now exists the ‘NHS Learning Disability and Autism 10 Year Long Term Plan‘ . The initial discussion phrase of the plan has just ended, and this conference was intended to continue the process of defining objectives and proposals. Continue reading

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