A Wales Audit Office report calling for better planning to help as many people as possible with learning disabilities live in their own homes is welcome. It could prove a blueprint for handing the financial challenges that ultimately lie ahead for disability and social care across Britain, generally.
The report warns council spending on housing for people with disabilities could double to keep pace with demand, a situation not unique to Wales. Rising inflation, coupled with demand could see spending rise to more than £760m by 2035 in Wales alone. By then, one in seven of us will be over 75. An ageing population means increasing numbers are going to need home support – and while the costs are considerable – they are lower than forcing people onto an already struggling NHS.
A little help is all many need to lead full and independent lives. Investment in the right support at home coupled with self-management strategies and a clear care pathway is the best way to and prevent care budgets spiralling out of control – a lesson the whole country needs to learn in the next 20 years. The British Polio Fellowship has shown that even conditions like Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) can stabilise or progress more slowly if properly managed, reducing the cost to the NHS.
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National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship