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MSPs told support for profoundly disabled “flawed”

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​Petitioner wants fundamental changes to care support for disabled

Residential care for profoundly disabled people in Scotland is inadequate and often non-existent, a campaigner has told a Holyrood committee.

Ann Maxwell, whose son Muir is profoundly disabled, told MSPs that social workers and local authorities fail to recognise the needs of families coping with disabled loved ones.

Scotland needs long-term residential care options for this vulnerable group - Ann Maxwell

She told the Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee the only suitable facility for her son is in Surrey, in the south of England - and said this is as an illustration of how flawed the system in Scotland is.

The Scottish Government shouldn’t limit the profoundly learning disabled’s interaction with the world to a succession of visiting carers and a few hours respite away from home each week, she added.

“The reason for the lack of long-term adult residential care in Scotland is because the Scottish Government currently measures the demand in part on the number of children and young people currently in residential care,” she said.

“This is a wholly flawed way of measuring demand and fails to capture the true need that currently exists in Scotland.”

She added that more community care is not the answer.

“Scotland needs long-term residential care options for this vulnerable group and the Scottish Government should provide the funding in which to make this a reality.”

John Pentland MSP, convener of the committee, is backing the petition.

“The committee could not fail to be moved by Ann Maxwell’s presentation as she described the struggle some families can face in trying to access the right support for a profoundly disabled adult child,” he said.

“We heard Ms Maxwell fought against lack of social work understanding of her son’s condition for nearly two decades.

“We will be seeking the views of the chief social work adviser on whether it is time for social workers in Scotland to increase their understanding and training in the needs of profoundly disabled people.”