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SIA welcomes legal action against NHS organisations who fail severely disabled people

SIA welcomes today’s decision by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to take action against 13 NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) whose policies are preventing severely disabled people from leading independent and fulfilled lives.

Dan Burden Head of Public Affairs at Spinal Injuries Association, said:

“This is a welcome move in holding tax payer funded NHS CCGs to account for their deliberate failure to consider the specific needs of severely disabled people. The Equality and Human Rights Commission action is a further endorsement of the findings of the both the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office; that the provision of NHS funded care for the most severely disabled people is deeply flawed and fails to take account of an individual’s specific needs.

CCGs are under considerable pressure to reduce the costs of care, but severely disabled people are lawfully entitled to such care and these cuts – with more planned – are reducing care provision to unacceptable and unsafe standards. There are instances of overnight care being removed and we are receiving examples of people who have been threatened with a move out of their own home and into residential care. That’s a bad deal for patients but also for the taxpayer and the NHS as we know that severely disabled people deprived of the right care will inevitably end up in A and E or in a hospital ward at far greater cost.

The tremendous pressures that this broken system places on the most severely disabled people will only get worse if NHS England carries through its plans to make £855 million of cuts which will inevitably put people at risk by forcing them to live with unsafe levels of care.

The specific needs of individual patients must be considered during the decision making process. We are calling for a system that places the patient at the heart of decision making. If disabled people are able to live at home with their families and wish to do so, they should be able to – and not forced against their will into care homes – breaking up families, and taking away hope for the future.”