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People with Learning Disabilities

Volume 643: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2018

4. What assessment he has made of the (a) quality and (b) availability of health and social care services for people with learning disabilities. (905915)

Commissioning high-quality health and social care services is a local responsibility. The Care Quality Commission monitors, inspects and regulates services that people with a learning disability may use. Where quality and safety standards are not met, it will take action.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services warned this week that social care services are on the verge of collapse. Despite the announcement of £20 billon yesterday, there was no mention of social care. Cuts of more than £7 billion have left hundreds of thousands of elderly and disabled people without adequate support. What specific measures are the Government taking to ensure that the elderly and disabled are receiving proper care?

Adult social care was mentioned yesterday, specifically in the news that we plan to bring together the way in which health and social care interoperate. We need more collaborative work between health and social care to reduce the amount of pressure that one puts upon the other. We have set out very clearly that we will produce a Green Paper later this year to address how we will tackle the challenges that we face in adult social care, and we will look at how we fund that.

Providers of day care services for people with learning disabilities are not currently subject to an inspection regime. Will the Minister consider bringing such services within the scope of the Care Quality Commission to reassure families about quality and safeguarding issues?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to draw attention to the fundamental importance of being reassured that all services that are provided are safe and reliable. Since the CQC has been looking at services up and down the country, it has brought to them a level of transparency and, indeed, quality. We keep under review the services that it regulates, and this is certainly something that we can discuss with it.

Will the Government end uncertainty for people with learning difficulties who need social care by funding the historical liabilities associated with the sleep-ins crisis?

We are aware of concerns in the sector with regard to sleep-ins and we are looking very carefully at the options. We have been developing the evidence base very carefully. We have been engaging with the European Commission, the sector and other Government Departments.

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust recently won a bid under the Beyond Places of Safety scheme to put in place IT support for users of learning disability services. Is that not a very useful way of taking forward such projects?

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. It is vital that when we look at how to move forward with both our health and social care services, we are able to capture all the latest technology to ensure that we improve the experience for all our service users.

Much of the health and social care for people with learning disabilities in Plymouth is provided by Livewell Southwest, a social enterprise. The new pay increases for NHS staff will not be mapped over to social enterprise staff, so when they merge back into the NHS, we risk a two-tier workforce. Will the Minister consider extending the pay increases to support those who work with people with learning difficulties in the social enterprise sector so that we ensure that everyone doing the same job is paid the same amount?

The hon. Gentleman makes an excellent point. It would be terrible to see a health and social care sector in which people doing the same work are valued differently, so I will look carefully at the point he raises.