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December 16, 2003

Services improve for disabled people

From: Health and care, UK - Dec 16, 2003

A report from the Department of Health’s Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) has found that significant improvements have taken place in the services offered to people with physical and sensory disabilities, but that there is scope for further action to create fairer and more consistent treatment for service users.Independence Matters was published on 12 December.

The report draws particular attention to the increasing number of people with disabilities who have been helped to continue to live at home, a rise in both the numbers and the satisfaction of service users receiving direct payments, and improved arrangements for the integration of community equipment services with similar provision through the NHS. Areas singled out for more work, however, include the flexibility and reliability of home care services, the organisation of transport, the availability of advocacy, encouraging employment potential, services for disabled parents, and services for disabled children approaching adulthood.

Averil Nottage, the SSI’s Acting Chief Inspector, who specifically drew attention to a checklist which councils can use to measure the quality of their services, commented that ‘we still have a long way to go before we have social services and other council services that are truly responsive to the needs of disabled people’. Dr Stephen Ladyman, Minister for Community Care, linked Independence Matters to the forthcoming National Service Framework for Long Term Conditions which, he promised, ‘will set out clear expectations about the standards expected across health and social care which will have benefits for all disabled people no matter what their impairment’. For the first time, the Department of Health is making available a British Sign Language version of a summary of the report.

Jef Smith

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