AROUND ten per cent of residents in Scotland’s old folks’ homes are disabled people under 50.
Official statistics show 600 younger people believed to be in their 20s, 30s and 40s are forced to live in care homes for the elderly.
Many of the young people have been left disabled in accidents or by illness.
But according to Public health specialist Dr John Womersley, the true situation could be far worse.
He believes Government figures are a massive underestimate and says that the real figure could be more than 1200.
“These people have 30, 40, or even 50 years left to live and they’re being place in care homes for the elderly, whose needs are at the opposite end of the spectrum. “
He said that the problem dates back to the mid-’90s when many health board establishments for disabled young adults were closed after funding cuts.
The services were replaced with private care institutions.
It is claimed that the young people are being left socially isolated and are being denied access to services.
Dr Womersley added:
“They end up sitting in bed watching TV all day.”
He also pointed out that there are usually no staff physio, speech or occupational therapists to help disabled young adults in elderly care homes.
“If disabled young people in their own homes have access to these facilities on the NHS, why shouldn’t they be entitled to the same services, just because they’re in permanent care.”
Margaret Watt, chairwoman of the Scotland Patients’ Association, said:
“This is an appalling way to treat young disabled people. “
A Scottish Government spokesman said:
“Our National Care Standards make it clear all care home residents are entitled to the same level of treatment and care as a disabled individual residing in their own home. “