Arriving at a headcount of people with a learning disability in the UK, or in the constituent nations, is no simple matter. But it’s not made easier, when sets of data are held by various NHS departments , Social Service departments, the Department for Education and The Department for Work and Pensions. Ironically the most incomplete set of statistics is probably held by GPs and CCGs.
We have commented elsewhere on the scandal of people with learning disabilities not being invited by GPs to the annual health checks – to which they are entitled. And Public Health England’s ability to plan has in the past been frustrated by the incompleteness of data provided by those whom you would expect to know the most, CCGs and GPs.
Many in the media reacted to government press releases yesterday as if the ‘learning disability register’ was comprehensive and accurate. Some of us know otherwise. Baroness Hollins certainly does, and the Minister admitted: “We have to work with what we have. The existing register, while not perfect, is the tool that we have for our task”.
Note also the question and reply re the vaccination of family carers and home carers.
Baroness Hollins, Crossbench : “My Lords, I welcome today’s announcement that all people with a learning disability on their GP learning disability register will now be included in group 6. However, we know that these registers are incomplete. How will the Government and the NHS ensure that those in England not currently on the register can be added so that they can be offered a vaccine too? Will the Minister confirm that family carers and home carers will be offered vaccination at the same time?”
Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care: We have to work with what we have. The existing register, while not perfect, is the tool that we have for our task. GPs had been encouraged to update registers in advance of the vaccine, as we had several months of knowing that it was coming. I understand that considerable work has gone into that. With regard to carers, my understanding is that they are not currently included in the clarification that came out today, but I am happy to confirm that point with her.
This article on the BBC News website explains this Catch-22 situation, and how to make matters worse, the cost of applying for access to a fund will often exceed the savings sum involved! Teens with learning disabilities locked out of savings
Well worth taking a look if you have any questions about capacity, deputyship, deprivation of liberty etc.
If you are a carer, best place to start is the page entitled MCA resources for users and carers.
The key legislation you should know about is the Care Act 2014…
The Social Care Institute for Excellence(SCIE) sets the standards for people working in social care, so in essence specifies what social services departments should be doing, and to what standard.
This is the gov.uk introduction to the Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-act-statutory-guidance/care-and-support-statutory-guidance
This explains what a broad concept wellbeing is: https://www.scie.org.uk/care-act-2014/assessment-and-eligibility/eligibility/how-is-wellbeing-understood.asp
o Assess client’s needs,
o Identify which needs are eligible for support,
o Develop a Care and Support Plan to meet eligible needs (whilst ensuring the client’s wellbeing),
o Implement the Care and Support Plan, and monitor (review) its implementation. (Section 13 of Care Act Guidance covers this issue in detail. Section 13.10 states: “Keeping plans under review is an essential element of the planning process. Without a system of regular reviews, plans could become quickly out of date meaning that people are not obtaining the care and support required to meet their needs.”).
There are shortcuts that can be taken in emergency; the phrase is ‘Meeting Urgent Care Needs’, but I am assuming this is not the case with P
o Has that assessment been carried out? Have you seen a copy?
o Has it identified P’s eligible needs?
o Have you discussed any assessed eligible needs with social services?
o but if you just open the Guidance https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/care-act-statutory-guidance/care-and-support-statutory-guidance , scroll down to Section 6, paragraph 6.30 to 6.43, which considers the question of P’s ability to understand and contribute to the assessment process (Please note that I do not know the extent of P’s capacity).
o If you have the time, with the Statutory Guidance document open on screen, hit CTRL+F (‘F’ for Find) and search for ‘Family’ and ‘Consult’; selected relevant results will give you an idea of the local authority’s duties to consult family members. (You may be disappointed).
o It might be best to challenge them on whether their assessment has correctly identified his needs, whether they have prioritised his needs correctly etc.
o If you are discussing placements, discuss/review how each will promote P’s wellbeing.
!!! CAVEAT – WARNING!!!
The Coronavirus Emergency legislation has eased many of the obligations placed on local authorities by the Care Act!!!
Please see the links below. I also include an extract from the government’s guidance on easements (accessed link 1 below)
I really do worry that this will make it easier to ‘rush things through’. So please see the text highlighted in bold (below) and perhaps be ready to quote it!
“What the powers actually change
The changes fall into 4 key categories, each applicable for the period the powers are in force:
I will stop at this point. That’s quite a lot for you to take in! Feel free to update me – I really do wonder how local authorities are behaving at the moment (I have had only limited ‘feedback’ from Rescare members.).
The whole debate (transcript here) makes for interesting reading (There are an awful lot of pledges to change and reform social care ‘flying around’), but the most telling contribution came from Baroness Hollins, who sits as a cross-bencher, and is an expert on learning disability issues, from professional experience, and also as a parent.
Her contribution summed up the effect of the lockdown on people with learning disabilities, and is worth quoting in full: Continue reading
Note that we at Rescare have not edited the text received, other than to correct some spelling errors, to change the layout slightly to improve legibility, and to anonymise the text – so that the author’s daughter is now referred to as ‘P’. No part of the text may be reproduced without the author’s permission.
Fifty years of Downs Syndrome, a parent’s account. Continue reading
There was an interesting debate in the Scottish |Parliament this week on improving the support for people with dementia and their carers. But Some SMPs broadened the debate to include a general consideration of the laws relating to capacity and incapacity, and the Scottish versions of powers of attorney and guardianship.
The main theme is Learning Disability and the Law, but other current issues will be discussed.
The meeting is open to Rescare members and non-members. Members were notified via a flyer enclosed with the recent edition of Resnews.
For the information of others, here are images of that flyer, giving full details of agenda, time and location.
If you are thinking of attending, please notify us (email firstname.lastname@example.org )