The decision to redesign services is entirely a matter for local authorities. However, the Scottish Government expects local authorities to listen to people with learning disabilities and their carers and to take into consideration what will work well for them.
The minister will be aware that Glasgow City Council has decided to close three day centres for adults with learning difficulties, which will have a massive detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of service users and carers across the city. If those centres were schools, ministers would have the power to call in any decisions on them. Given the health impact on my constituents, what powers does the health minister have to intervene, particularly given the flawed and pre-determined consultation process? I believe that further powers, including the possibility of call-in, are required to protect the vulnerable constituents I represent.
One benefit of the integration of health and social care is that it will allow our health and social care services to be much more effectively planned and delivered locally in a way that reflects the needs of the local population. The member will recognise that, ultimately, it is up to the local authority to use its resources and to provide services in a way that it feels fits its local communities’ needs. In considering what can at times be a challenging issue, it is important that the council has a process that allows for genuine consultation with those who have a learning disability and their carers, and that those who participate in the process have trust in the way that the local authority is taking it forward. In the process in Glasgow, it is important that Glasgow City Council continues to consider what it can do to address the concerns that carers and those who use the centres have expressed, and how it can achieve an outcome that meets the needs of those who use the services.