Former health minister and Ludlow MP Philip Dunne said it is vital to make services available for people with Down syndrome who are, for the first time, outliving their parents.
The Down Syndrome Bill has been introduced as a private members' bill by Dr Liam Fox MP and will be debated in the House of Commons on Friday. The Government announced last week that it will support the bill, which means it will become the Down Syndrome Act 2022.
Dr Fox, a former NHS Doctor and GP, has been an MP for 30 years but this is the first time he has been selected to bring forward a bill.
The bill sets out to improve provision and outcomes for all those living with Down syndrome in England. This will encompass, amongst other areas, maternity care, education, health, social care and employment.
Mr Dunne said: “For the first time people with Down syndrome are beginning to outlive their parents, so it is vital we make provision for that.
"Not only do we have an opportunity to address this situation, but we can go much further ensuring those with Down syndrome can access health, education and social care services.”
Dr Fox said: “My aim is to deal with three main areas. The first is to de-stigmatise Down syndrome. The second is to ensure that current provision of services is improved. The third is to look ahead and deal with future issues, such as long-term care, in an era where, for the first time, many of those with Down syndrome will outlive their parents.”
The National Down Syndrome Policy Group has launched a new campaign in support of the Bill. The ‘Stand Up for Down Syndrome’ campaign includes a Change.org petition which has attracted the signatures of 30,283 people with Down syndrome, their families and supporters.
Thousands of constituents have written to their MPs as part of the campaign urging them to support the Bill.