Creating a fairer society where no voice goes unheard

March 6, 2015 12:01 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb has launched the "No voice unheard, no right ignored" programme to strengthen the rights of people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions and ensure that they get the best care possible.

"No voice unheard, no right ignored" will ask for people's views on a rage of proposed measures, such as the right to challenge decisions about their care, the right to be treated close to their home and family and the right to design and control their care and support.

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The consultation which will run for 12 weeks, aims to help people to live independently with greater input, more rights and more control over their own lives.

The measures up for discussion include:

  • Having a named professional in charge of sharing information with an individual and their family or carers, including information about their rights to challenge decisions about them and about their care.

  • Ensuring that local authorities and clinical commissioning groups provide enough community-based support and treatment services to keep people with autism and learning disabilities out of institutions.

  • Requiring a care plan, including a plan for discharge, within a number of weeks of admission to hospital.

  • Preventing people from falling through the gaps between services offered by the health system, for example, by making mental health hospitals responsible for patients' physical health as well.

  • Potential changes to the way the Mental Health Act applies to people with learning disabilities and autism.

  • Establishing shared funding to help people get out of the hospital system and expanding rights to personal health budgets to more people with learning disabilities or autism.

Liberal Democrats are committed to ensuring a high standard of health and social care for those who need it. This new consultation process follows a recent announcement of up to £155m to develop homes for adults who require support to live independently.

Norman Lamb said:

"Everyone must have access to the right care in the right place, in or close to their community. They must be involved in the decisions affecting them and not "prisoners" of a system, as they so often feel they are.

That is why I have launched No voice unheard, no right ignored to look at what legislative changes are needed to make sure people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions are listened to and treated fairly."