The Herald's story on the shocking treatment of Margaret McEwan from Glasgow shows some of the real challenges that people with learning disabilities face in Scotland today.Stephen Naysmith wrote on Saturday 25th Of October. "Margaret McEwan epitomises Scotland's journey towards a more humane way of dealing with vulnerable elderly and disabled people. Her supporters hope she doesn't end up being a symbol of the collapse of those hopes. Freed from the notorious Lennox Castle 20 years ago, Margaret was taken into the bosom of a loving family, where her life has been transformed. But now she faces being denied that home life." Read More Here.
Margaret who has learning disabilities and a visual impairment is being asked to move into a care home to save the council money.
In Scotland there is a new national strategy called the Keys to Life designed to prioritise the things that are important to people with learning disabilities. It doesn't seem to help in this case. There is also a national strategy to promote Self Directed Support, a policy designed to give more choice to people who need support. It doesn't seem to help in this case. It seems that councils can choose to do whatever they want instead of national policies.
Some of the results of this approach in Glasgow can be seen in this chart published by the Care Inspectorate last week. It shows the change in Social Work spending in Glasgow and in Scotland over the last 9 years.
The figures in green show the areas that now spend proportionately more and those in the red the ones that spend less. We can see that in most of Scotland spending on services for people with learning disability has gone up. While in Glasgow spending on people with learning disabilities and other adult groups has been transferred over to services and support for children and older people. Councillors often say that Glasgow has been cut, this chart says it is really about priorities.
Glasgow is making a choice in treating Margaret this way and it is the wrong choice!