Community Care, no. 1364, 2001, p. 22-23
The number of people with learning difficulties in long-stay hospitals has fallen by 90% in ten years. However the process of hospital closure and resettlement of former patients in the community has been delayed by family opposition and financial concerns.
Community Care, No. 1365, 2001, p. 10-11
Article looks at the key findings and recommendations of the 'National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, Safety First - Five Year Report of the National Confidential Inquiry'. The report suggests that 250 suicides and 6 homicides could be prevented each year. The inquiry calls for a major overhaul of the Care Programme Approach (CPA) which was introduced in 1991 as a framework for the aftercare psychiatric patients.
Community Care, no. 1366, 2001, p. 10-11
The recent white paper on learning difficulties emphasises independence, choice, rights and inclusion. It envisages achieving these goals through partnership and inter-agency working. Charities have been united in praise for the paper's aims and vision, but are concerned about the lack of sustainable, on-going funding for implementation.
Health Service Journal, vol.111, Mar. 15th 2001, p. 14-15
April 1st 2001 saw the creation of a new merged mental health trust covering Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland, together with a single Newcastle-wide primary care trust replacing the three existing primary care groups.
Department of Health
London: TSO, 2001 (Cm 5086)
Every person with a learning disability will get a "health plan" and a designated health professional to supervise their care. New advocacy services and a national information centre and helpline, run in partnership with Mencap, will be launched. The remaining long stay hospitals will be closed and their residents helped to move into accommodation in the community. Specialist services for people with severe challenging behaviour will be developed as well as integrated services for children with severe needs. Partnership boards for key players in learning disability services will be created to encourage co-operation between health authorities, local authorities and trusts. For the first time there will be national objectives for services, backed by targets and performance indicators to provide a clear direction for local agencies.
Community Care, No. 1365, 2001, p. 2
The government White paper, 'Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century' aims to put the choices of those with learning difficulties first. There is still concern over the level of funding available. £20 million is being added to the existing £30 million budget to help those with learning disabilities, but there is still fear that money may be lost in the system as people are moved from hospitals back into the community.
The empowerment of people with learning difficulties is seen as key in changing the way people think. Article goes on to discuss the White paper recommendations.