Group Wants December 2004 Target For Closing Britain's
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 19, 2003
LONDON, ENGLAND--A new report reveals that 16 of Britain's institutions housing 752 people with intellectual disabilities will remain open past the government's current April 2004 target closure date.
The report, "Time to move on", released by the social care charity Turning Point, shows that one-half of the people who were supposed by be moved out of the facilities and into community homes by the deadline are still behind institution walls.
Some residents have been waiting for more than 35 years to move out, the charity said.
"This must be one of the longest waiting lists in the NHS," Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive of Turning Point, said in a press statement. "Yet these people are not ill and a hospital is not a home where they can live full lives."
"The government has a fantastic opportunity to become the administration that finally gives every person with a learning disability an independent home within the community. We're urging it to take action now so that this doesnt become a missed opportunity."
Turning Point is calling on the government to set a new target date of December 2004 to have all of the institutions closed. The organization wants the government to back this up by revising the target in the priorities of Strategic Health Authorities, NHS Trusts, social services and housing departments.
"These are people who could be living in the community, who could be deciding how they want to live, who could be deciding the kinds of things you and I take for granted -- whether they want to have sugar in their tea, for instance, what color they want their walls to be," Adebowale told the BBC News. "These are things that could be possible."