Learning disability services ‘underfunded’

Dermot O'Hara. (DER4313PG182)

Dermot O'Hara. (DER4313PG182)

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A public meeting will be held in the City Hotel tonight at 7 o’clock to discuss the amount of money being spent by the Western Health and Social Care Trust on learning disability services.

According to a source, senior learning disability managers from within the W.H.S.C.T. told parent carers groups and community organisations that learning disability services are being “underfunded by £8m every year.”

“We couldn’t believe it when they told us how learning disability services were bing underfunded by £8 million every year - that’s why we are having this meeting on Tuesday - enough is enough. We have to stand up for the most vulnerable in society,” said the source.

According to a recent report prepared by the Health and Social Care Board (H.S.C.B.) it was identified that there has been consistent under funding over a number of years and it is understood that funding that should have been directed to Learning Disabilities was routinely allocated to other areas of care, namely Older Peoples Care and Acute services.

A campaign will be launched at the public meeting.

The campaign is designed to ensure the immediate re-instatement of the £8 million to the budget and to seek retrospective funding for all the years that Learning Disability services were short changed.

The meeting is being organised by the Western Adult Learning Disability Action Group (W.A.L.D.A.G.) which is a representative body for a range of disability groups.

Dermot O’Hara who is supporting the campaign said “This is a shocking announcement that people with learning disabilities who are most vulnerable are being treated as second class citizens. We have been living and working with the disastrous effects of this reduced funding across respite services, day opportunities, social worker support, autism services and family support.”

The Action Group is extending a special invitation to families and individuals living with learning disabilities to the meeting, and to those who work within the W.H.S.C.T. and those who deliver services within the community and voluntary sector.