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News


CQC reports on State of Care 2017/18.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has just published ‘The State of Care 2017/18‘, its annual assessment of health and social care in England. The report ‘looks at the trends, shares examples of good and outstanding care, and highlights where care needs to improve’.

You can find links to the report, plus a summary and an easy read version on the CQC’s introductory webpage.

Obviously, the report covers an awful  lot of ground and topics. Almost every reference to learning disability is accompanied with an observation on ‘room for improvement’.

The most relevant sections relating to learning disability are on page 48 and page 111 of the report (See extracts below). Having read these, and seen some of the statistics cited, you may think that the report understates the deficiencies in health and social  care for people with learning disabilities.

Continue reading

Reasonable Adjustments: an Excellent New Resource

Further to our feature article on Learning Disability, Health and Obesity , and specifically our  reporting on Public Health England events in August and October.  Speakers from Public Health England (PHE) were keen to emphasise that people with learning disabilities and/or autism should be able to access those services from the NHS to which they are entitled (e.g. annual heath checks, flu vaccinations, eye tests etc.); and that they and their carers should expect NHS staff to make reasonable adjustments in order to provide those services.

PHE has now (Oct 11th 2018) published a ‘Collection of Guides to Reasonable Adjustments’ on GOV.UK. The webpage is entitled ‘Reasonable adjustments for people with a learning disability‘. This centralisation of available information seems an eminently sensible thing to have done, at last!

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Parliament Debates Autism and Learning Disability Training for Healthcare Professionals

Received in today, an email from the Petitions team at Parliament:

Dear xxxxxx,

Parliament debated the petition you signed – “Prevent avoidable deaths by making autism/learning disability training mandatory”

Watch the debate: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/b10b5496-54a6-4262-bb54-5c74ec58eedf

Read the transcript: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-10-22/debates/F8EBB4E2-C858-4B5B-B2E0-39D0C25EAA4C/AutismAndLearningDisabilityTrainingHealthcareProfessionals

Read the research: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/petitions-committee/news-parliament-2017/autism-training-22-10/

The petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/221033

Thanks,
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament

It is actually worth looking particularly at the transcript of this Westminster Hall debate. The debate may not have been well attended (to judge from the TV images), but those attending were knowledgable of  and/or interested in the issues raised.

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Leading social care interest groups warn government that its mental capacity reforms are not fit for purpose

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill is proceeding through Parliament. Following upon the DoLS crisis, about which we  posted and wrote extensively in recent years, the Bill’s primary purpose is to replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) with the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) proposed by the Law Commission’s Review.

Last week Rescare received email alerts on a Committee Stage debate in the House of Lords, in which speakers with expert knowledge of the issues and an interest in learning disability, such as Baroness Hollins, voiced their concerns over assessments of capacity by care providers and ‘registered managers’, and over the introduction of  inadequately defined terminology, especially ‘unsoundness of mind’.

The Hansard transcripts of the Lords debate, and  background information on the contents  and intention of the the Bill are available here on the Parliament website.

If you require a thorough anaylsis of  the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, comprising ‘a series of perspectives’ written by barristers expert in mental capcity law, we can recommend the Special Report available on the 39 Essex Chambers website

But also. to coincide with the Lords Committee Stage debates, a consortium of organisations with shared concerns about the Bill published  a more concise press briefing, which we think is worth reproducing here in full – since it outlines clearly the most controversial elements of the Bill.

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Special needs pupils being failed by system ‘on verge of crisis’

… So runs the headline today above a special report by Sally Weale and Niamh McIntyre in the Guardian’s Education Section, available to read online here . And it is worth reading.

The article catalogues the systemic  failures in the SEND system, as local authorities, faced with their own funding crises, and schools with conflicting priorities, struggle to meet their legal obligations. The article is, in effect, a summation of many of the recent  posts and tweets Rescare has published about SEND and related issues.

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Focus on Learning Disability, Health and Obesity

Learning Disability and Obesity… So much to say, and so much already said on this issue that we have given it a separate page, now located under the drop-down menu ‘Key Issues and Topics’*.

Take a look. I have tried to give an overview of the issues and Rescare’s concerns, and realise that there is a lot there to read.

This is a ‘hot topic’ within the general media, e.g. the stories in the press and online today about fast food outlets (“More takeaways on high street despite anti-obesity push” (BBC News) ) . It will I suspect be impossible to keep up with, and report on all developments.

I will however attempt to generate updates on what I have  already posted; and the intention is to use the webpage as a ‘baseline reference’ to cite when raising the issue in correspondence and emails.

* I took the opportunity to have a tidy-up of the menu structure as a whole at the same time.

JR

Important Legal Challenge to How Court of Protection Appoints Welfare Deputies

We listened  with interest this morning to Radio 4’s Today programme.

(To be specific,  the time was 8:42 am,  and the relevant discussion can be heard online at time-point ‘2:42’ of the broadcast, available online at  bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b90pym#playonline  ).

 

The Today programme’s interviewees were:

Alex Rook, senior  partner at the solicitors Irwin Mitchell, who specialises in Human Rights and Court of Protection issues, and

Rosa Mockton, learning disability campaigner.

They were describing how today they will appear in court  to argue that the Court of Protection is not (but should be) appointing Deputies for Personal Welfare (‘Welfare Deputies’) on a consistent and true interpretation of the ‘best interests’ of the person lacking capacity . They will argue that because the Mental Capacity Act  and its Guidance focus on exceptional and difficult cases, and assume that the majority of cases will be decided ‘through agreement’  after ’round the table discussions’, best interests are often under-considered or mis-considered.

Rescare has campaigned on this issue since the Mental Capacity Act was implemented. We have first-hand knowledge of how unsuccessful most of our members (parent carers) have been in any applications for welfare deputyship. On this website, their is an earlier blog post on this theme, entitled ‘The Eye of A Needle’!

Rook and Monckton  argue (like us) that the practical reality of the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act has been the dis-empowerment of family carers and parents;  while conversely social workers and care departments have been allowed to take more best interest decisions – although  those decisions are increasingly based not on best interests alone but affected by financial  and policy considerations. In answer to the interviewer’s question, they explained that they were well aware that there are degrees of incapacity; that they were concerned that the views of adults with some capacity are not sufficiently sought or considered, and that the best interest assessment of those with more serious conditions is often flawed.

The interview is well worth listening to. It will be available online for the next month. We will update you on developments…

PS. Rook and Monckton’s petition to the court was crowd-funded. I think we owe a debt of thanks to all those who contributed.

House of Commons marks Autism Awareness Week

It was heartening to read this transcript of a debate which took place in the Commons on 29th March .

(If you have the time, please have read – it is not that long)

It was initiated by Dame Cheryl Gillan, Conservative MP for Chesham and Amersham:

“I beg to move, That this House
notes that World Autism Awareness Week 2018 runs from 26 March to 2 April;
believes that there is a lack of understanding of the needs of autistic people and their families;
and calls on the Government to improve the support provided to autistic children in school and to autistic adults in or seeking employment, to reduce waiting times for autism diagnosis, and to promote a public awareness campaign so people can make the changes necessary for the UK to become autism-friendly.”

Continue reading

Death of Rescare’s founder, Richard S Jackson MBE.

It is with deep sadness that we must inform you of the death earlier today, 29th March 2018, of Rescare’s founder, Richard Jackson. Richard was the motivating force behind the foundation of Rescare in 1984, and served Rescare in the roles of Chairman and latterly of Honorary President. Many members of Rescare will have met or spoken to Richard over the years. In 1994 Richard was  awarded the MBE for his services with Rescare on behalf of people with learning disabilities, their carers and especially family carers. Our thoughts are with Richard’s family at this sad time. A full obituary will appear in due course on this website and in Resnews.

Richard Jackson,, with his wife Edith and grandchildren, outside Buckingham Palace, MBE Investiture, March 1994

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DOLS Reform. How urgent is ‘a matter of pressing urgency’?

9th Feb 2018: Joint Committee on Human Rights  launches inquiry into DOLS reform

Rescare covered the issue of DOLS and the repercussions of the Cheshire West case in several articles in Resnews, our newsletter to members, in 2016 and 2017.  One of the repercussions of that case was that the Court of Protection became clogged with literally thousands of DOLS applications from local authorities, despite various attempts to develop a fast-tracking mechanism. The feeling of many was that the current situation re DOLS is unsustainable, not least the Law Commission, who in March 2017  called for DOLS to be replaced ‘as a matter of pressing urgency’. 

 

 

We are grateful to the 39 Essex Street chambers for alerting us to the following in its latest ‘Mental Capacity’ bulletin:

Whilst we await the Government’s response to the Law Commission’s Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty report, the Joint Committee on Human Rights has launched an inquiry into ‘the right to freedom and safety: Reform of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.’ Continue reading

RESCARE

The Society for Children and Adults
with Learning Disabilities and their Families

 

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