Headlines: January 21st, 2009

‘Valuing People Now – A Three Year Strategy for People with Learning Disabilities’ sets out a new vision for improving services for people with learning disabilities across health, housing, employment and community care services. But a leading charity supporting disabled people has questioned whether it will be delivered.

The strategy, which goes beyond just health services, describes how people with learning disabilities will be supported in every aspect of their lives, from housing and health to employment. There will be improved training, commissioning of services and strengthening local structures to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities. The strategy is designed to ensure that people with learning disabilities get the healthcare they need and the support they want to live healthy lives. They will have the choice to have relationships, become parents and continue to be parents and opportunities to study and enjoy leisure and social activities.

Barbara McIntosh, Co-Director of the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, said: “We need to make sure Valuing People Now does not fall by the wayside. People with learning disabilities don’t need any more paper promises. It’s worth remembering that the original Valuing People was greeted with much fanfare, and included a delivery plan, but more than seven years later implementation is still very patchy.

The plan for delivering the strategy includes a new national Learning Disability Programme Board and Regional Boards to ensure the strategy works, share good practice and provide a forum for stakeholder groups to discuss progress and concerns.