“Disabled people are to be ‘warehoused’. We should be livid”

Mark Brown writes in the Guardian: 37 NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England are introducing rules about ongoing care that could force up to 13,000 people with health conditions into care homes. The CCGs will essentially begin saying to people with disabilities and long-term health needs: if you haven’t got the cash for homecare, then it’s off to a care home for you.

Imagine you have been living in your home for years. It might be where your kids were born. Being at home, having your stuff around you, having the greatest possible measure of independence, obviously means a lot to everyone, whether you’re well, ill or disabled. Then one day someone comes and tells you, “Nope, you’re too expensive here. We’re moving you to a care home unless you cough up the money to pay for what you need.

Disability campaigner and retired consultant and trainer in disability and abuse Merry Cross says this oncoming change is a recipe for abuse. She remembers hearing about incidents in care homes in the late 1970s and early 1980s of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, theft of money and belongings and staff deciding what clothes people would wear. Abuse is not only historic. It was only in 2011 that the treatment of disabled people at Winterbourne View care home shocked the country.

The tendency to see disabled people as objects rather than complete people leads to the view that they are less than human. That obviously affects the way disabled people are spoken about – the “stick ’em in a home” attitude – and treated.

[Read full column on Guardian website…]