By Accountable Care Journal-
(Pictured: Robert Longley-Cook, William Hart, Gavin Bashar)
A new report is being launched in parliament today setting out the case for a Sector Deal for the learning disability sector, focusing on realising the potential of technology to boost investment and transform the way care is delivered.
National learning disabilities charity, Hft, supported by Tunstall Healthcare, produced the paper outlining the key arguments for an economic partnership with the government as part of the UK Industrial Strategy – a long-term plan for the future aimed at backing businesses to drive productivity through investment in skills, industries and infrastructure.
The report, which is being officially launched at the House of Lords, highlights the challenges faced by a social care sector in financial crisis at a time when demand is growing.
Hft and Tunstall believe the successful negotiation of a learning disability sector deal would enable effective investment that could unlock the potential of assistive technologies. In turn, this would stimulate innovation and investment in future services, bring financial sustainability to providers within the sector, and ultimately deliver enhanced outcomes for people with learning disabilities.
22-year-old William from Bedfordshire (pictured, centre) has autism and uses a key fob to enter his home, which can be deactivated and replaced if lost, and has a lifeline phone and pendant alarm to use to call for help in the event of an emergency. William said: “I feel safe and secure knowing I am only one button away from calling anyone at any time. ”
The event also marks the official launch of Hft’s new Virtual Smarthouse. The online house showcases examples of assistive technology which different vulnerable groups can use around their home to improve their independence and quality of life, and increase their safety.
Robert Longley-Cook, Hft’s Chief Executive, said investment in the sector is desperately needed: "As it stands, the learning disability sector accounts for around a third of adult social care spend in England and demand is growing rapidly as life expectancy increases. Despite increased demand, local authority expenditure has not kept up, leading to an anticipated funding gap of £5 billion by 2020.
"With the funding crisis affecting the sustainability of adult social care, the sector and the government must come together to successfully negotiate a learning disability Sector Deal."
Gavin Bashar, UK & Ireland Managing Director of Tunstall Healthcare commented: "We support millions of people around the world, using technology as part of person-centred services to enable independence and freedom. However, not enough people with learning disabilities are currently benefitting from the advantages that assistive technology (also known as telecare) can bring.
"Assistive technology can make a positive difference to people with all kinds of disabilities, and in a variety of living environments. As well as managing risks, technology can aid communication, deliver greater privacy and dignity, and give people more control over the way they live their lives.
"Tunstall is proud to support the Sector Deal proposal, and its aim of delivering wide-ranging economic benefits and progressing towards a better future for people with learning disabilities in the UK."