More than a third of people with learning disabilities have lost care and support as a result of cuts to social care funding, according to a new study.
The study by the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent found that 42% of people with learning disabilities reported they had lost care over the last 10 years.
Researchers also found 14% of those surveyed said that their care had changed, but not reduced and a third (36%) said it had stayed the same.
Most significantly, they found that those who had lost care were engaging in significantly fewer activities.
These individuals scored lower on the Quality of Life index, which measures individual wellbeing, and had significantly lower self-esteem.
Three quarters (74.8%) of the sample also scored highly for having ‘clinically significant’ anxiety.
Overall those who had lost care reported a reduction in daily activities – experienced particularly when day centres closed. They also reported an increased likelihood of feeling lonely or bored as well as a general loss of aspirations for their future.
Research lead, Professor Rachel Forrester-Jones, who is currently director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Policy at the University of Bath, said: ‘The Care Act 2014 enshrines support to help people with complex needs, including those with learning disabilities.
‘But our research highlights the clear and very significant challenges that stand in their way in terms of reduced access to services and support as a direct result of austerity.
‘Cuts to services right across the country have had a significant negative impact on the lives of many people interviewed, which has long-term consequences for individuals, their families and their futures.
‘Improvements in social care support are needed. But we are starting from after 10 years of reductions in local services, with additional challenges from the impact of COVID-19 which would need to be addressed to support local authorities to fulfil their legal duties under the Care Act 2014. This will take vast amounts of resources and our study has shown that the scale of the challenge cannot be under-estimated.’
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