Service update has people 'at its heart'

CONTROVERSIAL plans to radically change learning disability services have taken a step forward.

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Glasgow City Council's proposals will involve the closure of three day centres – Berryknowes, Summerston and Hinshaw Street at Queen's Cross, which are each used by around 130 people every week day.

The move follows a consultation previously reported in the Evening Times, and has come under fire from action groups who say the needs of people with learning disabilities will not be met.

Social work bosses say by putting users in charge of their own budget, they can take part in the activities that interest them.

If the plans get the green light, a New Public Social Partnership, bringing together users, carers and service providers to design their individualised care packages, would be developed.

The proposals follow a consultation and include a guarantee that the total cash spent on care budgets for people who currently use day centres will remain the same.

Councillor Matt Kerr, executive member for social care, said: "These proposals will put service users and carers at the heart of the effort to modernise our learning disability day services."

A total of nine local area co-ordinators will be appointed as part of the plans.

Council chiefs are also guaranteeing that the £3 million currently spent on inefficient transport will be kept within the social work budget.

Mr Kerr added: "Service users who have already moved on from day centres make it clear they do not want to go back. With the right support in place, they have relished having more control over their lives."

Ian Hood, coordinator of the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland, said: "Once you begin to close down day centres people no longer have the choice to have that service in their local community.

"People with learning disabilities are living longer so there needs to be a plan for the future.

"It is clear Glasgow City Council has not planned properly and there's a lack of imagination on their part.

"There is still a need for day centres among people with learning disabilities."

The paper outlining the revised proposals will go before the Health and Social Care Policy Committee on March 6.

rachel.loxton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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