Valerie speaks at Mencap event in Walsall

On Friday 2 March 2012 Valerie Vaz, MP for Walsall South, spoke about social care and rights for people with a learning disability, at an event organised by the charity Mencap.


Valerie said:


“I congratulate Mencap on their series of events taking place from January to March this year.  These events highlight a range of services being cut across the country, and show how these cuts are affecting people with a learning disability and their families.  It is important that people can get together this way to discuss these important issues.


“I was shocked to read the Mencap report “Death by Indifference: 74 Deaths and Counting”, which tells of 74 people who have died avoidably: this shows we must still be aware that the health needs and human rights of people with a learning disability must not go unheeded.


“Changes to the welfare system, social care charges and the NHS bring risks that progress in these areas will be lost.  As MP I have been taking up cases where there appears to be unfairness and I will continue to do so.


“The Health Select Committee – of which I am a member – has published a report into Social Care.  In my view there needs to be much more integration of services for people with disabilities and long-term conditions and for older people.  Care Trusts such as Torbay have been pioneering integrated care but I am concerned that this will be disrupted under the NHS reorganisation.


“It is a measure of whether we can describe ourselves as the good society as to how we treat our senior citizens and the most vulnerable; they should not be penalised but protected.  I hope when Mencap write their follow-up report in 5 years time that we can say there have been no avoidable deaths.”