Court case will determine if severely disabled Cambridgeshire man can receive more help
A SEVERELY disabled man has taken Cambridgeshire County Council to the Supreme Court after he was offered a care package that he says “did not meet his needs”.
The 26-year-old Cambridgeshire man, known only as KM, is appealing a 1997 House of Lords ruling which says that local authorities can cite their own lack of resources as a reason for determining an individual’s care needs.
The male, who was born with no eyes or optic nerves and has learning difficulties and an autistic spectrum disorder, is being supported by four national charities in a bid to ensure people disabled people “receive a proper assessment of their needs”.
Sense, the National Autistic Society, the RNIB and Guide Dogs for the Blind also believe the case could have “far-reaching implications for disabled people across the country”.
Alex Rook, from solicitors Irwin Mitchell, said: “This is potentially the biggest community care case for 15 years.
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“The national charities seek to end the inequity of the current situation and determine once and for all that care needs are care needs regardless of the local authority in question.
“Each firmly believes that a person’s individual needs are the same regardless of whether they live in Hackney or Harrogate.”
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KM, who lives with his mother and younger brother and sister, has other medical problems including a growth hormone deficiency, spinal disease, lung and hearing problems and a rare condition known as septo-optic dysplasia.
Yet despite his difficulties he can communicate and use Braille and has GCSEs in French and music.
He also has a certificate in drumming and plays the piano and clarinet while composing his own rhythm and blues music.
“Too often councils do not focus on the care that someone actually needs but on their own available budget,” Sense’s head of legal services Simon Foster said.
“We want the Supreme Court to clarify what the law requires, so that deafblind people and others with social care needs, as well as local authorities, are clear on the assessment process.”
The case began today (Tuesday, February 7) and is due to conclude tomorrow (Wednesday, February 8).