MP WELCOMES FOCUS ON HELPING PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES OR AUTISM BACK INTO THEIR COMMUNITY

Mel Stride MP has welcomed a renewed focus from the Department for Health on helping people with learning disabilities or autism who could be better supported in their community by having their discharge from hospital accelerated. £62 million of funding will be given to local councils over the next three years, beginning with £20 million for 2020/21. The funding can be spent on costs associated with discharge, including establishing community teams, accommodation and staff training. A new independent oversight panel has also been set up to improve care and support for inpatients with learning disabilities or autism. Mel said:

"It is vital that the Government does not let the urgent overshadow the important. As the country continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy, it was good to hear the Health Secretary draw attention to this important issue last week. Local authorities must have the funding to provide appropriate support for people with learning difficulties or autism in their own community closer to family and friends if that is what is best for the individual."

Mr Stride has twice visited Easterbrook Farm in his constituency near Exbourne which provides accommodation with personal care for adults who have a learning disability or autism. Easterbrook residents are offered a wide choice of activities both on the farm and in the community and get to choose what they do each day. In 2015 Mr Stride was invited to plant a copper beech tree to mark the farm's tenth anniversary (pictured).