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Launch of 'Raising our sights’ – a report on services for adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities

March 2010

James Cooper and his mother Tina Cooper'Raising our sights', a report on services for people with PMLD in England, was launched on 19 March by the Department of Health.

The report was commissioned by the Department of Health as part of the 'Valuing People Now' delivery plan, and was written by Professor Jim Mansell of the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent. Speaking at the launch, he said that good services are individualised and person-centred. "The government's personalisation agenda is the right one."

While good practice does exist, Professor Mansell highlighted prejudice, discrimination and low expectations as obstacles to its wider implementation. He also said that a lack of resources may restrict the speed of change, but that this shouldn't affect its direction.

The report makes 33 recommendations across areas such as health, wheelchairs, assistive technology and day activities. As well as emphasising personalisation, it says that good services should treat the family members of the disabled person as experts, focus on the quality of staff relationships with the person and sustain the package of care. A film accompanies the report, using the experiences of four people with PMLD (including James Cooper, pictured) and their families to show how good services can work in practice.

Bruce Calderwood, director of mental health and learning disabilities for the Department of Health, welcomed the report. He said that the government would formally respond to it in due course, but "the philosophy and overall approach is one we echo."

Beverley Dawkins, chair of the PMLD Network and national officer for PMLD at Mencap, said: "We welcome this insightful report and urge all commissioners to follow its recommendations. People with PMLD and their families should not have to fight to get the support and services they need, it should be their right."

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