Yesterday, after a very short debate that was slipped in right at the end of the day, the States approved the full list of new service bids in the 2011 States Strategic Plan. Amongst the nine services approved was the Adult Learning Disability Respite Care project.

Currently, both adult and child respite care services for people with a learning disability are run from one building (‘The Croft’), even though everyone acknowledges it isn’t right to mix the two groups. The bid was for the running costs for a separate two-bedded unit for adults (£211,000 in the first year). The intention is that the 12 full time staff involved will also provide ‘outreach’ – respite care in people’s own homes. There are 250 adults with a learning disability in Guernsey.

The Bailiff and the T&R Minister were careful to point out that this is only the “amber light” – HSSD need to take a full business case to T&R now. So it will be a fair while before the new unit is ready to open its doors. But nevertheless, this is a big step forward for people with a learning disability and their families. This project has been waiting to get to the top of the States Strategic Plan list for at least five years, maybe longer.

The States are aware, from the GDA/MS Society’s research study, that support for families who are caring for a relative with a physical or sensory impairment, or a mental illness, is even more limited than that provided for people with a learning disability. However progress on this is awaiting the Older People’s Strategy and the Disability Strategy.

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