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Cost of care for disabled children 'rising'

21st November 2006

A social services chief has called for greater clarity in the issuing of equipment for disabled children by local authorities and trusts.

John Coughlan, president of the Association of Directors of Social Services, has said that "clear and transparent rules" are needed with respect to such equipment.

His comments came in response to a BDF Newlife survey, which found that charities are providing a significant proportion of this equipment due to a lack of funding by local authorities.

"The fundamental message is a real one: that we've got children who are surviving longer, whose needs are becoming more complex and equipment is becoming more sophisticated and therefore more expensive," Mr Coughlan told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"The role of the voluntary sector is a really important one and we welcome the support that various parts of the voluntary sector have given these services," added Mr Coughlan.

"But we do need to have much clearer and transparent rules about who's qualified for what and to ensure that local services are funded to a level that they can meet those needs."

BDF Newlife chief executive has said that her organisation's spending on equipment for disabled children has risen from £35,000 to £500,000 in just two years.