On 18th February the BBC released some figures that said there are lots more serious incidents and unexpected deaths in supported living.
Learning Disability England are worried to hear about any unexpected deaths and serious incidents in supported living as we know it is someone’s life. Seeing how many are reported here makes us very worried, but we are not shocked. We see from the news, from formal reports, and hear from our friends, that too many people with learning disabilities are living a very different life to people without disabilities. Learning disabled people experience far too much different treatment and abuse. Whether this is verbal abuse on public transport, serious sexual assaults in residential care, and everything in between, we know it can happen in every setting where disabled people receive services. We also know that too many people with learning disabilities are dying too young in ways which don’t seem to happen to young people without disabilities. Only a shift to seeing people as fully equal, with rights and lives that matter, will bring about the change we need to see.
Some of the increases are because there are more people living in supported living but even so, these things are happening to people with learning disabilities and they shouldn’t be.
Some of the increases might be because there is better reporting from providers. We think that being transparent about what goes wrong is a good thing but we are worried that some things go wrong because of poor care or not having enough money for care.
BBC File on Four and BBC Breakfast have told stories of poor supported living and 2 stories of good supported living. In one good supported living the money had not been increased for 15 years.
Learning Disability England is worried about the lack of funding for social care because there is £7bn less than there was before austerity. We know that care packages, self advocacy and other vital supports are being cut and having a negative impact on our members.
We know that some of our provider members have reluctantly handed contracts back because they are not well enough funded. What is worrying is that some providers will still take underfunded contracts and cut corners.
We believe that good quality supported living is the right thing to do – we don’t want to return to institutional services. Good supported living follows the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and includes the principles of the REACH standards and The Real Tenancy Test. Jayne Knight blogged about those last week click here for Jayne’s blog
We know there are many great examples of good supported living using personal budgets and with providers supporting.
Anyone, with the right support can live in their own home and we do not want to see people being made to live in institutional care because of their high support needs.
We, along with most other organizations are calling on the government to fund social care properly, but it is about more than funding. We want to see a Social Care Future that works in people’s lives and helps them have rich and rewarding lives, so we will continue to support the #SocialCareFuture initiative.
Learning Disability England’s Co Chairs of the Representative Body, Wendy, Scott and Jordan have written to the CQC to ask for more information on the figures presented by the BBC so we can understand what is actually happening.
You can see their letter here
We also ask our members to let us know what they think about Supported Living or any worries or questions they have. We will be sharing our work and questions we have too.
We will share the replies we get and what we learn from them.