Monday, March 30, 2009

British report says disabled people there must rely on charities because government social services are lacking

From The Independent in the UK. In the picture, Dan Pepper, 20, is an elite swimmer with a learning disability.

Thousands of disabled people across the UK are forced to rely on charities for basic care, equipment and vital information because of gaps in social services, according to new research by Shelter and Capability Scotland.

Their report, Fit for Purpose, to be published this summer, will expose the constant battle disabled people face as they try to adapt their homes or move into more suitable housing. A lack of practical advice, long waiting lists and shortfalls in funding are common because of a huge gap between government policy and practice on the ground, the authors claim.

The findings add to pressure on the Government and health authorities after a scathing report into the care received by six people with learning disabilities who subsequently died. Their cases were described as an "indictment of our society" by the health and social care ombudsmen.

New research highlights problems common across the UK, where charities frequently fill gaps left by a shortage of suitable housing and discrimination in the job market.
Many disabled people are still reliant on social services to decide what they need.

Parents of severely disabled children in some parts of the country rely on charities for basics such as incontinence pads and wheelchairs. A recent survey by the charity Livability found a lack of classroom services prevented one in five young adults from pursuing higher education.

The findings come only days before a report by the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights, which looks at the Government's failure to ratify the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. The Government says it will ratify the treaty this year but insists it must opt out of several unworkable areas. The Select Committee strongly criticised ministers recently for the delay and for failing properly to consult disabled people about their decision.

Alice Maynard, chair of Scope, said: "The Government's decision to opt out of certain areas means it is essentially ring-fencing parts of life which disabled people can and cannot go into. This reinforces the view that disabled people are not as equal as others and that it's OK for other people to decide where they can and cannot be seen."