Have Disabled People been forgotten amid Social Care Reforms?

  • Charities have said the government are ignoring evidence that adults with disabilities in England are being deprived of basic care and support and are at risk of being forgotten in the wider reform of the social care system.

    The focus on care has been centred around the troubles for older people, but the charities say that council's budget squeezes mean people under 65 with disabilities are missing out too.

    The groups, including Mencap, Scope, the National Autistic Society, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Sense, warned the situation could deteriorate under the forthcoming reform of the system.

    The report, 'The Other Care Crisis', is published by Scope, Mencap, The National Autistic Society, Sense and Leonard Cheshire Disability, and highlights that about 500,000 working age adults get social care support - a third of the total number needing help.

    The figure has been falling in recent years as councils have started to ration care so that only those with the most severe needs get help.

    Ministers are soon expected to announce a cap will be placed on the costs people face for care, but this will largely benefit older people who have built up substantial assets through savings, pensions and property.

    Younger adults with disabilities are less likely to have such assets, and as a result get care free through the means-tested system.

    The analysis reveals for the first time that 105,000 disabled people are at risk of not getting the basic support they need to help them eat, get washed and leave their homes if Government sets eligibility at ‘substantial needs'.

    This figure comprises 36,000 disabled people who have ‘moderate needs' and currently receive some care may lose this basic support.

    69,000 disabled people with ‘moderate needs' are not receiving any basic support, meaning they are likely to struggle with day to day life.

    Research carried out for the charities indicated there were now 90,000 fewer people receiving help than in 2008 - at a time when there are more people living with disabilities.

    The research also raised concerns about the quality of services being provided as 40% of those in the study receiving social care were failing to get enough help to ensure their basic needs, including eating properly, washing and dressing, were met.

    Overall, the report estimated there was a £1.2bn funding gap for younger disabled adults.

    Scope chief executive Richard Hawkes:

    This is shocking evidence of a system that has failed disabled people, effectively condemning them to a life without basic dignity and invisible to society. Times are tough for everyone but being able to eat, wash and leave your home is not a luxury.

    It is absolutely appalling that this is the sad reality of life for thousands of Britain's disabled people.

    We need an urgent and long term solution from the Government to lift disabled people out of a life without basic support for the day to day tasks that everyone else takes for granted."

    Mark Goldring, of Mencap, said:

    It is unforgivable. The government cannot ignore this damning evidence.

    Care Minister Norman Lamb said he recognised there was "pressures" on the system and the government was trying to target resources at social care, but that even in the present conditions there were examples of local authorities redesigning services to find more efficient ways of working.

     

     


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