Representatives from Harlow charities, ASL and Upwards with Downs, joined Robert Halfon MP in attending Dr Liam Fox’s Parliamentary reception for his Down Syndrome Bill. Harlow’s MP, Robert Halfon, is backing the Bill which will “transform provision and outcomes for all those living with Down syndrome in the UK”. It is likely to become law in the near future.
Both ASL and Upwards with Downs expressed their support for the Bill and commented on the visit.
Michelle Tohill from ASL said: “It was wonderful to be invited into Parliament yesterday in support of the Down Syndrome Bill. This will have a huge impact on the whole Down Syndrome community, families and care givers. Offering more support and equal opportunity to people with Down Syndrome.”
Nicky from Upwards with Downs said: “It was a great pleasure to be invited by Robert Halfon MP to meet Dr Liam Fox MP on Tuesday at the Houses of Parliament. The Down Syndrome bill is going to be so important to standardise and improve current sporadic and geographically varied services and we are very grateful to Dr Liam Fox for putting this bill to the House, and also to Rob for being such a strong supporter of the bill, and of the organisations such as Upwards with Downs and ASL which support people with Down Syndrome in Harlow.”
Mr Halfon said: “It was a pleasure to welcome representatives from the fantastic ASL and Upwards with Downs into Parliament today to discuss the Down Syndrome Bill that I am supporting.
“We are so lucky in Harlow to have incredible organisations like Upwards with Downs and ASL and I have seen their remarkable work first hand, but I also know that too many people with Down Syndrome are not able to access the services they need because often, the service provision is not properly inclusive and an upsetting stigma still remains.
“I believe that these measures and this new law will improve the lives of those with Down Syndrome and that is why I am pleased to be backing it. I will continue to work hard to support our amazing local organisations and to ensure that the Government does everything possible to improve the lives of everyone with a disability.”
The legislation includes three key measures:
De-stigmatising Down syndrome and re-educating both the public and professionals about the advances, including in life expectancy, that have occurred in recent decades.
Ensuring that current provision of services is improved, whether provided by health, education or local services, by ensuring that providers give due consideration to those with Down syndrome when designing service provision.
Looking ahead and dealing with future issues, such as long-term care, in order to prevent avoidable human tragedies.