The purpose of this paper is to compare data from national social care statistics on the living situations of people with learning disabilities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
National social care statistics (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) reporting the living situations of adults with learning disabilities (residential and nursing care, living with family, other forms of accommodation) were accessed, with data extracted on trends over time and rate of service use.
There were substantial differences in the statistics collected across the UK. Overall, there were higher reported rates of adults with learning disabilities in residential/nursing accommodation in England than Scotland or Wales, but much lower reported rates of adults living in other forms of unsupported and supported accommodation and much lower reported rates of adults living with their families. In all three countries, trends over time suggest that reductions in residential care towards more independent living options may be stalling. In Northern Ireland reductions in currently extensive residential and nursing care services are continuing, unlike other parts of the UK.
Despite similar policy ambitions across the four parts of the UK, statistics on the living situations of adults with learning disabilities report substantial differences.
This paper is a first attempt to compare national social care statistics concerning the living situations of adults with learning disabilities across the UK. With increasing divergence of health and social service systems, further comparative analyses of services for people with learning disabilities are needed.
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