Latest Public Sector News

06.01.14

Short-term social care ‘illogical’, charity warns

Longer-term planning in social care for adults with learning disabilities could reduce long-term care costs, as well as significantly improving wellbeing, new research suggests.

A Plan for Life, published by learning disability charity FitzRoy, found that 87% of local authorities say that long-term planning offers the greatest opportunity to improve quality of life, and 67% agree it would cut costs in the long-term.

But 42% of local authorities’ plans are based on just one year ahead, or less, and 64% reported being under pressure to cut cost at the expense of quality.

The charity is calling for more support for local authorities to make better use of resources and to improve outcomes for adults with learning disabilities through longer-term social care.

Anna Galliford, chief executive at FitzRoy, said: “Adults with learning disabilities and their families need to know that they will be supported to live as independent and fulfilling a life as possible, and appropriately cared for. 

“Care decisions have an almighty impact on an individual’s ability to manage their disability and how they live their life, for the rest of their lives. 

“Local authorities face a huge responsibility to help adults with learning disabilities and their families find the best care and living arrangements for them. This cannot be determined by cost alone; these are lifetime decisions that must be based on whole life planning – looking beyond the current budget cycle.

“Short-term planning is illogical and is adding insurmountable pressure on local authorities, who are already struggling to cope with severe budget cuts and increasing demand for their services. 

“Short-term planning threatens the whole quality of a person’s life, whether they want to establish new relationships, develop new skills, go to work or be more involved in their local community.

“Long-term planning and measuring wellbeing, however, can help manage demand and reduce the cost burden that is weighing so heavily on local authorities today.

“With the introduction of new wellbeing measures, local government has a steep learning curve ahead of it. This could be a great turning point for social care and we are calling on the government to help define wellbeing as clearly as possible, and to help put individuals at the centre of social care decisions.”

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