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Government consultation launched to improve the lives of people with mental health needs, learning disability and autism

12 March 2015 Sue Radford

People with mental health needs, autism and learning disability should be given greater rights so they can live independently, be included in their community and make choices about their own lives.

That’s the vision of a new government consultation, No voice unheard, no right ignored, that aims to ensure everyone with a learning disability, autism or with mental health needs has a right to lead their life with the same opportunities and responsibilities as anyone else, and is treated with the same dignity and respect.

“We are not just a label,” states Gavin Harding, MBE, Co-Chair of the Transforming Care Assurance Board, in the Foreword to the consultation. “We are not someone you can treat differently. We are human beings. We have an entitlement to a life just like you.”

The consultation proposals are based around four key principles:

  • People should be able to take charge of decisions about their care, supported by family and friends
  • People should have the ability to live as independently as possible with support and to have access to community, to family and to opportunities like anyone else
  • There should be real person-centred planning, with the individual themselves at the heart
  • Services need to have greater integration and work together to give people what they need, together with clear accountability

These proposals echo recommendations outlined in Schizophrenia: Time to commit to Policy Change that call for greater support for people with schizophrenia to remain in their community; an integrated approach by healthcare professionals that addresses both mental and physical health needs; and greater support for families and carers of those living with schizophrenia.

People with mental health needs, autism and learning disability, along with their families, carers, health and social care professionals, are being encouraged to take part in the consultation which runs until 29 May 2015. The consultation is by the Department of Health in England. The Mental Health Act applies across England and Wales. Any legislative changes in Wales would have to be agreed by the Welsh Assembly.


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