This week is Learning Disability Week 2022, an annual campaign to inform the world what life is like if you have a learning disability.
Learning disability charity, Mencap wants to show how people with a learning disability are reconnecting with friends and their communities. The charity also wants to talk about the issues many people still face after the end of COVID-19 restrictions, such as still having to isolate or dealing with poor mental health and anxiety.
Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care, welcomes Learning Disability Week 2022.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said, ‘The learning disability sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors in social care. As a result of increased demand induced by demographic factors, historic workforce issues, and increased difficulties in the access to care, the pertinence of the learning disability sector is likely to grow and demand greater governmental attention and action than what has been previously given. This Learning Disability Week it is important for us to recognise the additional challenges these individuals face, to spread awareness for the millions of adults and children with learning disabilities, and to celebrate their valued contributions to our communities.’
In relation to what providers should be considered for this year’s event, Care England said it is vital that the adult social care sector receives assistance from the Government to continue to provide the necessary and vital care they provide to the 1.5 million people with learning disabilities, especially in the light of the pandemic and the extra obstacles it presents when it comes to providing outstanding care.
Looking forward to Learning Disability Week 2022, Clive Parry, ARC England Director, commented, 'As we enter Learning Disability Week 2022, learning disability providers are facing yet more examples of inconsistent policies that are having a damaging effect on services where covering shifts is already harder than it has ever been due to well-documented workforce challenges. What's more, the serious impact of this disconnect does not appear to be understood by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
'Social care staff are required to isolate following a positive test even when they are not unwell and do not have COVID-19 symptoms, but because the costs of this are not being met by the DHSC, many employers cannot afford to pay staff for this time.
'To our knowledge, this isn’t happening in any other sector. It is causing real hardship for hard-working support workers who are needlessly being prevented from working, and then not being compensated for a decision over which they and their employers have no control.
'Similarly, the cost of PPE that staff are required to use but which their counterparts in the NHS are not required to use is no longer being supported by the DHSC.
'We are calling on the DHSC to urgently review the requirement for staff working in learning disability services to continue to use PPE when they are not providing direct care because it is not likely to be making a positive difference to them, the people they support or the colleagues they work with. We also call for a review of the requirement for staff in learning disability services to stay away from work when they are well enough to work because an irrational DHSC policy precludes them from doing so.'
Visit the Mencap website to find out more about the annual campaign.
In other news, the DHSC has announced that more than £15m of funding will be given to local authorities across England, to help local authorities implement new social care charging reforms.