National charity Hft and telecare solutions provider Tunstall Healthcare have reached another important stage in their campaign to negotiate a sector deal for the learning disabilities sector.
The partners have issued a joint submission to a House of Lords Science & Technology Committee into Ageing: Science, Technology and Healthy Living, showcasing the benefits a sector deal could bring to working age adults with a learning disability.
Sector deals are partnerships between the government and industry on sector-specific issues which can create opportunities to boost productivity, employment, innovation and skills.
The submission highlighted how assistive technologies, such as telecare, have traditionally been geared towards older people.
However, there are significant applications for working age adults with learning disabilities, which Hft and Tunstall believe are not currently being realised to their full potential.
Earlier this year, the two organisations published their report ‘Improving Outcomes, Enhancing Care’ and made the case for a sector deal for the learning disability sector.
The report, officially launched at the House of Lords, highlights the challenges faced by a social care sector in financial crisis at a time when demand is growing.
Hft and Tunstall believe the successful negotiation of a learning disability sector deal would enable effective investment that could unlock the potential of assistive technologies.
In turn, stimulating innovation and investment in future services, bringing financial sustainability to providers within the sector, and ultimately delivering enhanced outcomes for people with learning disabilities.
Billy Davis, Hft’s Public Affairs and Policy Manager, hopes that the submission will widen attention beyond support for older people.
“While much of the policy debate has focused on support for the over-65s, the learning disability sector actually accounts for around a third of adult social care spend in England and demand is growing rapidly as life expectancy increases,” he said.
“With the funding crisis affecting the sustainability of adult social care, providers and the government must come together to successfully negotiate a learning disability Sector Deal.
“Assistive technology has a key part to play in bridging that gap. Effective investment could transform the way support is delivered to people with learning disabilities and increase their independence, ultimately freeing up staff to focus on more meaningful support.
“We believe a sector deal will stimulate investment and innovation and ultimately deliver improved outcomes for the people supported by the sector. This is why we have submitted evidence to this important inquiry. We look forward to reading the Committee’s conclusions in due course.”
Gavin Bashar, managing director UK & Ireland, Tunstall Healthcare commented: “We support millions of people around the world, using technology as part of person-centred services to enable independence and freedom.
“However, not enough people with learning disabilities are currently benefitting from the advantages that assistive technology can bring. Tunstall is proud to support the sector deal proposal, and we hope our evidence to the Committee demonstrates how technology can help us create a better future for people with learning disabilities in the UK.”