Brighton and Hove health and council chiefs asked to approve reforms for people with learning disabilities

Posted On 03 Feb 2015 at 1:17 pm

Senior politicians, council officials and health chiefs in Brighton and Hove are being asked to approve changes to services for people with learning disabilities this afternoon (Tuesday 3 February).

The proposals follow pressure from parents and changes to the law.

A report is being presented to a special joint meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board and Brighton and Hove City Council’s Children and Young People Committee. The meeting starts at 3pm at Hove Town Hall.

One of those who will be leading the discussion this afternoon, council leader Jason Kitcat, wrote about the proposals in the current issue of Latest magazine.

Councillor Jason Kitcat

Councillor Jason Kitcat

He said: “In recent months the council, supported by independent experts, has been rethinking how it supports people with learning disabilities. Two major reviews have been run, one focused on our services for children and the other on those for adults.

“These are hugely complex and sensitive areas. There is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ solution for the diversity of needs we see among citizens. For children there is also the importance of connecting support with schooling.

“Both reviews have come back with a powerful focus on putting the needs of our service users first, which is what you would expect. But what the reviews found is that while we have some excellent staff providing brilliant services, they aren’t always as joined up as they could be, nor are they always keeping up with people’s changing needs.

“For example many parents told us of their frustration with the number of times they had to tell ‘their story’ to professionals, and the number of different places they had to go to access support. So we are setting a goal to bring together much more of these services into combined hubs alongside our special schools. This will deliver better, more integrated care for young people with learning disabilities.

“For adults we are seeking to put greater emphasis on ‘personalisation’, which means letting them choose what they want to spend their budget on, rather than being placed in services we already offer. We must avoid paternalism and, wherever possible, meet the aspirations we heard in the review of travelling and working in the city like everyone else.

“These ambitions will take some time to achieve fully but my hope is that partners across the city will agree them as our goals at a special meeting today (Tuesday 3 February).”

For more information about the reviews and the special meeting, click here.

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