Post from Alice Maynard, Chair of Scope
Disabled people want to live independently in their community. We want to decide where we live, who we live with and how we go about our day.
In 2013, I think – I hope – most people would back that aspiration.
Unfortunately too often this doesn’t reflect the reality of disabled people’s lives, and this autumn we’re doing something about it.
Firstly, we’re going to be calling on the Government to be bold when it comes to reforming social care.
The current system is on its knees. The London School of Economics estimates that 69,000 disabled people who need support to live independently don’t get any. While, 40% of those lucky enough to get some support say it doesn’t meet basic needs like getting up, getting washed and dressed and getting out of the house. Yet Government plans, which will be debated by the Lords on 9 October, will shut 100,000 people out of the system altogether.
But if we want a bold response from the Government, we have to do more than shout from the sidelines. We have to show what’s possible by taking difficult decisions.
For example, we run care homes. We’ve taken a long, hard look at them all, and asked ourselves if they do enough to support disabled people to live independently in the community.
Staff do a great job, but many homes were opened in the 1970s, aren’t located in the heart of the community and are simply not set up to offer disabled people enough choice and control over their lives.
In the last five years, Scope has changed or closed ten of these services. We’re now proposing to change or close more over the next three years.
It’s the right thing to do. But it’s important we do it in the right way.
We tell the people most directly affected first, and before making a decision on a home, we consult with the people who live there, their families, staff and local authorities.
When we do change or close care homes, we will always do this sensitively and respectfully, supporting everyone affected by the changes to understand what they mean and what choices are available to them.
It’s very easy to demand that the Government makes difficult decisions. It’s much harder to make them yourself. Disabled people want to have choice and control over where and how they live. We think it’s right that the services we offer them make that possible.