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Sinn Féin raise learning disability underspend concerns

8 November, 2018 - by John O'Dowd

A Sinn Féin delegation including Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd and Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA Colm Gildernew have met with the Southern Health and Social Care Trust to raise concerns over an underspend within Learning Disability services.

The meeting follows confirmation that the trust has underspent on services for adults with learning disabilities by more than £7m since 2014.

John O’Dowd said: “The underspend has caused concern to services users and their families and we were keen to gets answers from the Trust.

“We were informed that staff shortages were partly to blame but that this is being addressed.

“It is important those who rely on services, especially those with a learning disability, are getting the best service they can. It is remarkable that the budget available was not fully utilised.”

Sinn Féin spokespeople on carers Colm Gildernew added: “The families, carers and people with a learning disability who use the services are essential voices and participants within their care. It is vital that every opportunity is made to not only ensure they are involved but they are helping to design and monitor the services being used.

“Genuine co-production can be a great asset for making decisions to ensure the best health outcomes are realised. We call on the Trust to work closely with the families to ensure that going forward this is achieved.

“We will be following up with wider issues facing those with a learning disability including the provision of supported living accommodation with the Housing Executive and relevant authorities.”

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