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Six Years On From Winterbourne View

Wednesday night marked the six year anniversary of the showing of the BBC Documentary ‘Undercover Care’ which revealed shocking abuse of people with a learning disability at Winterbourne View , a private hospital near Bristol.  It was shocking, it was brutal and it reminded us that despite all of our advances in understanding, policy and guidance, people with a learning disability are still being abused and mistreated in establishments meant to be providing care and support to them. The nation was shocked but up and down the country it was people with a learning disability and their families that felt most strongly. This wasn’t just an isolated case, it was the kind of treatment they feared receiving  themselves or for their loved one.

The programme launched a raft of activities designed to bring an end to the use of institutionalised care and the type of poor support that led to the experiences of the people living at Winterbourne View. This “Transforming Care” programme had setbacks and false starts and has undergone re-adjustments and alterations over the last six years as the promised progress has not been delivered.  Far too many people with a learning disability are still trapped in inpatient settings where they are at risk of over-medication, seclusion and physical restraint. In the three months before a 2015 learning disability census, 665 people with a learning disability in inpatient units had been physically assaulted at least once.

NHS England has made the commitment to close 35-50% of inpatient beds by March 2019. Together with Mencap, we continue to campaign with families to make sure this happens.

In March this year Dispatches highlighted the human impact of this inappropriate model of care – looking at the experience of  three individuals and their families. It prompted Leo, mum of Stephen, to start a petition calling for change.  Along with others CBF wrote to Simon Stevens, CEO of NHSE England asking him to commit to stop spending millions of pounds of NHSE funds on institutional care, and instead use the funds for local high quality support and services. NHSE's response was very disappointing and didn't address our concerns. We must continue to push for the change needed.

On the 6th Anniversary of the exposure of abuse at Winterbourne View it is vital we continue to shout loudly to challenge a system that persists in traumatising the individuals it should be helping. Please join us in telling NHS England enough is enough -  they must stop sending people to large institutions and develop the right support in the right place at the right time 

Sign Leo’s petition calling on Simon Stevens to stop funding places in outdated institutions -->

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