In 2011, the BBC’s Panorama programme exposed shocking psychological and physical abuse suffered by patients with severe learning disabilities at the hands of those charged with caring for them at a private hospital, Winterbourne View. The government review, Transforming Care, which followed gave rise to a number of pledges and plans of action to ensure such a scandal could never occur again. This policy is a promise to fully implement the resulting Transforming Care Programme.
When Transforming Care was established in 2012 the headline pledge was:
“An end to all inappropriate placements by 2014 – so that every person with challenging behaviour gets the right care in the right place”
After that deadline, a 2014 report by the Transforming Care and Commissioning Steering Group acknowledged the consequences of breaking the promise:
“The failure to meet the Winterbourne View pledge above means there is now a great deal of anger and frustration surrounding this issue”
Under this government, the latest statistics paint a similarly disappointing picture in terms of progress towards ending inappropriate placements.
In April 2019, Mencap, the leading charity working on behalf of those with learning disabilities, said:
“Today’s data confirms that the programme has ‘officially’ not delivered the promises made to people with a learning disability and their families by NHS England and their partners in 2015.”
“Full” implementation of the Transforming Care Programme would mean moving to a position where the presumption is that people live in their own homes rather than in hospitals. The latest data, and the damning opinion of Mencap, suggest that remains a long way off.
We’re giving this a status of ‘in progress’. To move it to ‘done’ we would expect a dramatic reduction in the number of people with learning disabilities held in inpatient units, and agreement from experts in the field that the programme has been effectively implemented. Follow this policy for updates.
- Winterbourne View: Abuse footage shocked nation – BBC News
- Transforming care: A national response to Winterbourne View Hospital – Gov.uk
- Learning disabilities – NHS England
- Winterbourne View – Time for Change – NHS England
- Learning Disability Services Monthly Statistics Provisional Statistics (AT: April 2019, MHSDS: February 2019 Final) – NHS Digital
- Government fails to transform care for people with a learning disabilities and/or Autism – Mencap
- National plan – Building the right support – NHS England
- Building the Right Support – NHS England