Mixed progress on Valuing People Now


The proportion of people with learning difficulties in work in England appears to have fallen, according to a new government report.

The report, which summarises progress made on the previous government’s Valuing People Now learning difficulties strategy, also found that the proportion of people with learning difficulties in residential care seems to have risen.

And the report confirms that the Department of Health is likely to miss the Labour government’s target for all people with learning difficulties to leave NHS “campus” accommodation by the end of this year.

The report says that the number of people living in NHS campuses fell from 947 in September 2009 to 543 this September.

Although there are likely to be more than 200 people who will not move until 2011, the report says that “everyone still living in an NHS campus will have new social care support providers in place and a full transition plan by the end of 2010”.

The report summarises the first annual reports produced by the 152 learning disability partnership boards across England.  It says there has been “considerable progress” in health, housing and employment, but there was “still more to do”.

The report says the number of people with learning difficulties who received an annual health check increased from about 27,000 in 2008-09 to nearly 59,000 in 2009-10, although three-fifths of those eligible for an annual check were still not receiving one.

The report also reveals that, of those people with learning difficulties who use social services, the percentage in work fell from 6.8 per cent to 6.45 per cent – although there is some doubt about the figures for 2008-09 – while only 87 of the 152 partnership boards have an employment strategy.

And the percentage of people with learning difficulties who were known to local authorities and were living in residential homes appears to have risen from about 35 per cent to 39 per cent, although again there is some uncertainty about the figures for 2008-09.

Paul Burstow, the Liberal Democrat care services minister, said there was “still more to do” in ensuring “equity and excellence and personalised services” for people with learning difficulties, including a “real challenge” in improving the transition from children’s to adult services.

All nine VPN regions said they were happy with the progress made on health – including providing more annual health checks – but seven of them said much more work was needed to ensure outcomes were achieved on jobs and housing.

8 December 2010

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