Friday, 31 March 2017

Mission Invisible

I watched the Public Accounts Committee session about ‘Care for people with learning disabilities’ earlier this week, which asked questions both about the progress of Transforming Care but also more widely about support for people with learning disabilities. Transcripts of the oral evidence session can be found here and you can watch the session here.  The National Audit Office report upon which much of the questioning was based is here

It put me in a very bad mood, and it took me a while to articulate what this was about. I think what got to me was my impression of the complete absence of people with learning disabilities, or it being in anyone’s mind at any point that people with learning disabilities could/should be agents of their own destinies and have power over anything. But my impressions, anyway, can be quite wrong, so I thought, in true nerd fashion, I would test out this impression with a bit of quantitative analysis of the transcript of the session. Here goes…

Public Accounts Committee
Oral evidence: Care for people with learning disabilities, HC 1038
Wednesday 29 March 2017
The session started at 10.09am and finished at 12.11pm (just over 2 hours)


Number of people involved in the oral evidence session:
  • 7 MPs asking the questions
Witnesses

  • 1 parent of a person with learning disabilities
  • 6 professionals (2 from large service providers, 2 from NHS England, 1 Department of Health civil servant, 1 from the Association of Directors of Social Services)
  • 0 people with learning disabilities


Number of mentions of advocate(s), advocacy or related terms in the session

  • 12 mentions of professional advocacy
  • 9 mentions of family advocacy
  • 3 mentions of advocacy from senior professionals/civil servants
  • 0 mentions of people with learning disabilities being advocates
  • 0 mentions of self-advocacy or peer advocacy


Number of mentions of complex, complexity or related terms

  • 10 mentions of complex needs or similar located within people with learning disabilities
  • 5 mentions of complex systems surrounding people
  • 2 mentions of complexity of getting information


Number of mentions of forum (as in National Forum) or related terms

  • 0


Number of mentions of discrimination or related terms

  • 0


Number of mentions of co-production or related terms

  • 0


Number of mentions of right, rights or related terms

  • 38 mentions of right (versus wrong) – e.g. right direction
  • 6 mentions of right (in terms of time or direction) – e.g. right now, on the right
  • 1 mention of right (as in human or legal rights) – in a question from the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee

Overall, I think this confirms my impression of the session that people with learning disabilities as authors of their lives with human rights were completely absent (physically and in the thinking of people present). Bad, bad mood.

1 comment:

  1. Can't bear to listen to it (in a bad mood already). Was there ANYTHING useful?

    I hate the term Learning disabilities as completely meaningless - and I hate it even more when it slides into "mental health problems". Yes, people with first hand experience of what they want and need should be heard. But one size fits all isn;t good.

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