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Eden Social Welfare Foundation

Persons with disabilities fear shortage of personal assistants and the loss of independence

The BBC news about the persons with disabilities mentioned that a disabled member of the House of Lords says she "fears" disabled people could end up living in care homes if a "severe" shortage in personal assistants is not addressed.

Baroness Jane Campbell, a veteran disability campaigner who suffers from the muscle wasting condition spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) shares her struggles in recruiting PAs also known as Personal Assistants who help with care and general tasks to enable individual to live independently. She fears that persons with disabilities will be forced to go back into living in instructional settings which most of them escaped in 1970s.

A recent report describes the PA crisis as “severe” since 70,000 people in England use PAs for their day-to-day lives.

Another person with disability, Anna who is also a wheelchair user because an energy impairment has been awarded with a budget of 35 hours a week for a PA. However, she was unable to find anyone else after her PA left,. She says this is limiting her from doing many activities since she cannot manage them on her own.  

There has been a noticeable shortage in the market and availability of people who work as care givers because currently PAs are not recognized as “skilled workers”. Many people as individual cannot sponsor workers for a visa but only organizations can that's also making this situation even more difficult.

PA pool is a website where people can find their compatible PAs. The site has about 22,000 members worldwide which is much more than the available assistants.

The average wage for a PA is comparatively less with no sick or holiday pay. This is resulting in lack of interest in people to become care giver.

To combat this crisis PA jobs must be paid well and people must be made aware of the opportunities come with this position . Thus people don’t make assumptions about the job. 



Citation:Disabled people fear shortage of personal assistants and the loss of independence

By Beth Rose
BBC Access All

Source : BBC News