Conservative Member of Parliament for Gedling, Tom Randall, has supported a new law which will make life-changing differences to people living with Down’s Syndrome.
Most people with Down's syndrome are able to lead healthy, active and more independent lives, achieving more than ever before, however, people with Down's syndrome face significant challenges across all stages of life and the Government is taking steps to help make sure their specific needs are recognised and considered by introducing the Down Syndrome Bill.
Once law, the Down Syndrome Bill will require the Secretary of State to publish guidance to public bodies to ensure they are clear on how they should meet the needs of people with Down's Syndrome. It will set out best practice across health, education, social care and housing, giving practical advice on how the appropriate steps can be taken to meet the needs of those with Down's Syndrome when planning, designing and delivering services.
During a parliamentary debate on the Down Syndrome Bill on Friday, 26th November, Tom Said: “There are 47,000 people in the UK with Down’s syndrome. I am grateful to my [Gedling] constituents who wrote to me in advance of this debate to tell me about the issues that they and their families have faced and the challenges that the condition can bring. They have told me about how the language and attitude on learning that the baby has Down’s syndrome can often be negative and discriminatory, and that young people with Down’s Syndrome are more likely to be hospitalised than those without it, and for longer.”
Tom went on to highlight what life-changing improvements the law will make to people living with the condition: “The Bill provides the opportunity to make life-changing differences for a condition that affects so many aspects of life across the health, education, housing and social care fields. The Bill requires the Secretary of State to create guidance. Various authorities would be required to pay due regard to that guidance.”
On Friday, Tom Randall and fellow MPs approved the Bill at its first stage, known as the second reading. It will now be considered by a committee of MPs and, if approved by both the Houses of Commons and Lords could become law by Spring next year.
Speaking after the debate, Tom said: “It is especially welcome that the Government will consult widely on the proposed guidance, ensuring the voices of those with Down syndrome, their families and carers are heard, and that the guidance is fit for purpose. This, I believe, is essential.
“I pay tribute to the work of my colleague Dr Liam Fox MP in bringing forward this important Bill, it has my full support and I look forward to seeing its passage through Parliament. Once law, it will ensure those with Down’s Syndrome here in Gedling and across the UK receive the support they need to live life to the fullest.”
You can watch Tom's speech here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/138e6ddb-c832-452b-a250-7202b68b1…