stock photo of Westminster by the Thames

In the Trust

Kerwin Court, our brain injury rehabilitation centre in Horsham, West Sussex, was visited in March by constituency MP Jeremy Quin. Mr Quin spent the morning with staff learning about the neurobehavioural rehabilitation offered to people at the centre.

Following her visit last year to Redford Court, our brain injury rehabilitation centre in Liverpool, Luciana Berger MP has asked the Government about their plans to introduce screening for brain injury in adult and juvenile prisoners. The Government responded that they have no intention of introducing screening for prisoners entering the adult estate. This is particularly disappointing as currently children and young people under 18 are screened for brain injury upon entry to the criminal justice system. The Trust will continue to work with other organisations to raise awareness of the link between brain injury and offending behaviour.

Consultations

The Law Commission released their report into their proposed scheme to replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). The Trust responded to their consultation in October 2015, outlining our concerns that the proposed replacement model, which divided settings into either ‘care home’ or ‘hospital’ would not meet the needs of people we support through our brain injury rehabilitation services. If you would like to read our response please get in touch.

The Law Commission’s final report has taken into account the feedback they received and they have proposed that the existing DoLS be replaced by a new ‘Liberty Protection Scheme’, which will be less onerous than the DoLS but still safeguard the human rights of people affected. Many of our suggestions and concerns were shared by other respondents and overall we are satisfied with the final report. The Law Commission’s recommendations will now be passed to the Government, who will decide whether they wish to act upon them. One immediate change is the death of someone under DoLS will now not automatically result in the need for a coroner’s inquest.

NICE has published guidance on mental health in the criminal justice system, recommending that prisoners with identified mental health issues should receive regular checks and staff training should be improved. The Trust responded to this consultation in November 2016, noting the prevalence of acquired brain injury in the criminal justice system and the affect this can have on prisoners’ mental health and ability to successfully engage with rehabilitation. The full guidance from NICE can be found here and our comments can be found here by searching for ‘The Disabilities Trust’.

The Communities and Local Government Select Committee released the findings of their inquiry into adult social care, stressing that “unless significant extra funds are provided in the short and medium terms, the social care system will be unable to cope with the demands placed upon it.” The Trust responded to their call for evidence in August 2016, highlighting our experiences and the impact that reductions in funded hours are having on people supported in our autism community houses.

In the news

The Chancellor’s Spring Budget promised an extra £2 billion over the next three years for social care to local councils in England, following significant pressure from the social care sector and increasing media attention. He also stated that a Green Paper examining the long-term funding of social care would be announced later in the year. While the sector has cautiously welcomed the financial boost, it is currently unclear how the money will be distributed and some have questioned whether it will reach where it is most needed.

Theresa May triggered Article 50, starting the process of the UK’s exit from the EU. Disability Rights UK have produced information on how leaving the EU may affect the human rights of people with a disability. The Cavendish Coalition, a group of 34 social care and health organisations, has written to Government ministers to set out what the Government needs to focus on during EU withdrawal negotiations to maintain safe, high quality health and social care services. Within the Trust we will continue to monitor how withdrawal could affect our staff and the people we support.

Several recent television programmes have focused on the experiences of people with disabilities or receiving social care. Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches: Under Lock and Key’examined the inappropriate, outdated care provided to people with learning disabilities in one institutional hospital setting, contrary to current best practice developed post-Winterbourne View. BBC One’s ‘Panorama: Britain’s Care Home Crisis’ revealed care homes have cancelled contracts with 95 UK councils as they are unable to deliver services for the amount they are paid. The Trust believes that television programmes such as these are important for raising awareness of the challenges facing the sector.

Research and reports

Westminster and national legislation

Health, care and support

Opinion pieces

Sarah Rufrancos - Policy and Campaigns Manager

campaigns@thedtgroup.org