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VODG calls for action on NIMBYist local authorities
Disabled people are being denied the choice of where they want to live because of government bureaucracy which is costing the country millions of pounds and causing untold distress to those caught up in the muddle.
‘Not In My Backyard’, a report published today by the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), paints a sombre picture of disabled people unable to live more independently because they are caught up in funding squabbles between local authorities.
John Adams, General Secretary of the VODG said: “The root cause is the definition of someone’s place of ordinary residence – the means by which local authorities and Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) determine which authority has responsibility for financing care services for people living in their area. They are using disputes over a person’s place of ordinary residence as a device to delay, or avoid paying, the costs of care. They are passing the buck and flying in the face of government policy. “
The problem was first highlighted by the VODG three years ago when they asked the Department of Health for urgent action to remove barriers to choice and independence.
Graham Faulkner, Chief Executive of the National Society for Epilepsy and a VODG member said: “There is no doubt that in most cases independent living results in a better quality of life for the person concerned and an overall saving on the cost of care. If you put the person at the heart of this, and allowed funds to follow the individual so that they could choose where and how they wanted to live, the situation could be simply resolved.”
In its latest report the VODG is calling on the government to urgently:
- Put its core principles of fairness and equality into practice by demonstrating effective leadership which resolves this issue once and for all
- Establish and enforce the principle of choice so that disabled people can receive appropriate social care support from the authority where they are currently living or wish to live regardless of inter-authority funding mechanisms
- Put in place a framework for the transfer of funds between authorities (similar to the NHS) so that the issue of ordinary residence is no longer used as a basis for refusing to provide care and support
Commented John Adams: “We want the coalition government to treat ordinary residence as an urgent social care priority and put its stated values of choice and fairness into practice, enabling disabled people to enjoy the same freedoms that are taken for granted by other citizens. The VODG steadfastly believes that resolution of this continuing and needless barrier is long overdue.”