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Cash shortage for needy people

PUBLISHED: 13:11 28 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:56 03 March 2010

DOZENS of adults with learning disabilities who are in desperate need of help, will not get it unless more cash arrives, Suffolk Health warned today.

The cash crisis was revealed at a board meeting in Ipswich.

DOZENS of adults with learning disabilities who are in desperate need of help, will not get it unless more cash arrives, Suffolk Health warned today.

The cash crisis was revealed at a board meeting in Ipswich.

Directors heard that a total of 60 people, aged over 19 who have left special schools in Suffolk, now need daytime activities to relieve the stress on their families and carers.

Associate Director of Joint Planning and Commissioning, John Lewis, said that of a £4 million Suffolk County Council investment into adult care needs, only £1.25 million was spent on those with learning disabilities.

He said: "We are always in a catch up position in Suffolk." He said paying for care was a joint responsibility between Suffolk Health and Suffolk County Council.

He admitted that 60 people would potentially not have their needs met, and he agreed that these were people who are already in a "desperate situation."

Mr Lewis said £3 million would be needed to meet their needs properly. He added that the people confirmed were either living in residential care, which couldn't cope with them, or living with their families who are under considerable stress.

He said: "The relatives may be frail and elderly, or dealing with challenging behaviour which they just cannot cope with.

"A significant number of people have severe mental health problems in addition to their learning disability."

Non-Executive Director Lilian Power said that people with learning disabilities use both Suffolk Health and Suffolk County Council, which brought difficulties because both services are over stretched and under resourced.

She said: "I am hoping the government's new commitment to bringing the NHS up to scratch will mean that we have the resources to meet our social care responsibilities as seriously as we take our health care responsibilities."

The NHS Partnership Board (between Suffolk Health and Suffolk County Council) is due to discuss the matter next month.

Chairman Joanna Spicer said: "It is clear we have got to address this jointly, with social care."

Chief Executive David White added that funding facilities for people with learning disabilities had long been an issue for health authorities and social service departments.

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