Catch Up No 5 The Delusion of Inclusion

 

Charles Henley
First posted on Facebook 23 February ·2017
Further to yesterday’s facebook posting – “who supported the King’s Fund Centre in the early and later 1980s”?
This refers of course to the KFC proposals in 1984 that getting all people regardless of severity or profoundness of learning disability into paid jobs would justify the withdrawal of specialised and structured support. This would include special care units within day centres.
The answer raises many questions that have never been effectively debated with the outcome being a failure of successive governments to restore stability to a formerly rational care in the community policy.
The KFC gained its initial main support from Mencap, followed shortly afterwards by local authorities (LAs), and ever since by the support of a succession of consultants to whom LAs have turned for guidance. (Much more to follow on this later.)
The painful truth is that there are no longer recognised experts on policy direction such as the Professors Jack Tizard, Neil O’Connor, Alan and Ann Clarke and Herbert Gunzberg who promoted genuine inclusion policies so effectively in the formative years of care in the community. There remains just very few followers of their calibre and quality, but they are overwhelmed by a mass of misleading information and lack of support from influential sources.
Local authorities, having disposed of their experts in this field, especially experienced mental welfare officers now turn to individuals and organisations that have set themselves up as ‘experts’ in the vacuum that followed. Yes, there are real experts in areas concerned with specific aspects of learning disabilities who rightly deserve recognition – but not concerning policy direction.
The current state of policy direction speaks for itself as it appears to move away from the values of hands-on experience and come under the domain of philosophers with a wealth of imagination.
Hence the need for open debate so that the voices of genuinely concerned carers can be heard. In this respect, I still await a response from Mencap re my proposal that they sponsor an independent debate in the public domain!
In the meantime, as my next posting will outline,, I am prepared to use my own facebook page as an interim option to raise further questions about how seriously carers have been misled and their family members deprived of choice

Author: charlesahenley

Following a varied career starting with 4 years as a city office worker, 4 years service in the RAF both as ground staff ad flying duties, 16 years working for IBM Time systems division as a service engineer, a short spell as a production line supervisor, before returning as service manager to another US business machines corporation who had taken over IBM Time systems division in the UK. The nature of this work brought into contact with day centre establishments for people with learning disabilities and in 1966 when radical and progressive policies were awakening I changed career direction. In the years that followed I worked for five different authorities at centres ranging in size from 24 to 190 attendees of all levels of ability and saw remarkably progressive policies being introduced in the first 20 years for the benefit of the attendees and their carers. Sadly, as a consequence of local authorities gaining full control of policy implementation from 1990 onwards, service support went into a spiral of decline that has made debacle of the rational principles of care in the community. There is now a vital need to take responsibility for service implementation away from local authorities and the NHS and grant it to a single service agency under the direction of its own Minister. Without an urgent change of direction, the current dire situation can only worsen.

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