Care Cuts for learning disabilities spark a 360% increase in demand at Mencap

  • Mencap in Lincolnshire have recorded a 360 per cent rise in demand for help from people with learning disabilities between April and June this year, sparked by cuts to care services.

    Cuts to personal support, fears about community care assessments and complaints about eligibility criteria changes by local authorities, are the main causes for concern, and Mencap officials are expecting the number of calls to continue rising.

    Michaela Butler, national team manager for Mencap Direct, said:

    The situation doesn't look set to change and the most vulnerable people are feeling the effects of this, so we are expecting more calls from them and their families.

    Cuts to care services and changes to the eligibility criteria for care have left many people feeling vulnerable and isolated

    People in Lincolnshire who phoned Mencap's helpline over the past year were most concerned about benefits, education and social care. The cuts are having a negative impact on the lives of people with a learning disability.

    Many people have reported reduced services, limited choice when it comes to services available to them, and some are actually missing out on services altogether.

    Lincolnshire County Council officials say that changing their eligibility criteria at the same time the increase was recorded could be a reason for the jump, but that most people's fears over the changes have not been realised.

    Glen Garrod, assistant director for adult social care, said:

    The Government's move towards personal budgets and the need for councils to significantly tighten their belts have seen the biggest changes to social care in a generation.

    It's completely understandable that people feel anxious. However, people should be very reassured that, in a great many instances, people's fears have not been realised as they soon discover the benefits of personal budgets, for example.

    It is actually important that people have a choice of organisations to approach for a range of specific or independent advice.

    Source: Lincolnshire Echo

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