Government And NHS At Risk Of Missing Transforming Care Targets



Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation call for urgent Cross Government action and investment to enable children and adults to get the right support when and where they need it


  • At least 2,185 people with a learning disability / autism continue to be locked away in inpatient units, including 230 children
  • Little change in the number of admissions - with 95 admissions in December
  • Discharge delays continue
  • Restrictive interventions were used over 3,000 times in one month, - 910 were against children.
  • High levels of missing data - figures available for 3 out of 18 private/independent providers and less than half of the 56 NHS providers.

According to data released today from NHS Digital, 2,185 people with a learning disability and/or autism remain locked away in inpatient units, a reduction of just five in December. 230 children continue to be locked away.


A high number of people with a learning disability and/or autism are being admitted to hospitals - 95 people were admitted in December alone. 135 people remained in hospital when they are ready for discharge, mainly because of lack of social care and housing provision in the community.  


There were a high number of reported uses of restrictive inventions (3,245 in one month), of which 910 were against children. This is likely to be just the “tip of the iceberg” as there are high levels of missing data, with data only from 3 out of 18 private/independent providers and 23 out of 56 NHS providers.


The average total length of stay in in-patient units remains at 5.4 years.


Vivien Cooper OBE, CEO of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, said:

The data provides little evidence of the transformation of care that has been promised for so long. Each number represents a person, and when this is combined with the woefully incomplete data about the use of restrictive interventions it highlights what those individuals are experiencing. Numerous reports have been published, including recent CQC reports about large, profit making providers who deliver poor quality services funded from the public purse. These provide further compelling evidence of the need for change. It is time the Government showed real leadership and actually addressed the root causes of the systemic failures so that children and adults with learning disabilities and their families get the right support in the right place at the right time.”


Dan Scorer, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the learning disability charity Mencap, said: 

“Today’s data shows a worrying loss of momentum with a net reduction of just five people with a learning disability and/or autism coming out of inpatient units this month.  A reduction like this is an indication that NHSE is highly unlikely to meet its own target of a 35% decrease by March 2020, which itself is a deferred commitment from March last year. Today’s figures offer little evidence that the right community support is being developed. The small changes in the numbers of admissions and delayed discharges result from a lack of suitable housing and social care. We urgently need to see departments across government working together to develop the right support in local areas – carers with the right skills, suitable housing and healthcare professionals with the expertise and capacity to support people, their families and carers – so that people who’ve been locked away for years, in these ‘modern day asylums’, miles from home, can finally be discharged and receive the care and support they deserve close to their loved ones.” 




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