Statement on NHS Digital Data – 17th December 2020

On the 17th December NHS Digital published the latest figures for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and/ or autism in inpatient settings. The total number at the end of November was 2,075. This is an increase on figures published last month. 

Of these 205 were children and young people under the age of 18, an increase of 5 on the previous month. 

Every single number represents a child, young person or adult. The Government and NHSE promised to “transform care” and reduce the numbers of individuals with learning disabilities and autistic people inappropriately placed in units, yet the numbers are rising.

Data published today, the 22nd December, shows children, young people and adults in inpatient units experienced 4,160 restrictive interventions in September 2020. Although this is a slight decrease from figures reported last month for August, the actual figure is likely to be much higher with serious under-reporting. Only 4 out of 14 independent providers and 29 out of 57 NHS providers reported data.  Providers have consistently failed to provide data with apparently no consequences – we do not know the true picture. 

This data is published in the same month as the second part of the CQC independent review into Whorlton Hall. The figures emphasise the importance of implementing all the recommendations from the review into Whorlton Hall to ensure abusive care does not go undetected in the future. Concern is raised in the independent review regarding the proposed new 40 bed unit for people with learning disabilities to be run by Merseycare which does not seem to fit the new registration guide Right Support, Right Care, Right Culture

Children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and autistic people have a right to receive timely and appropriate care and support in the community and close to home. 


Support for families:

We know this time of year can be particularly difficult for families of children, young people and adults living away from home, including those currently in inpatient services. 

For families worried about their relative’s care, see this webpage for information on services including inpatient services and where to go for support.

If you support someone with a severe learning disability whose behaviour challenges you can contact the CBF Family Support service on 0300 666 0126. Information is available on our website or email us at:

The CBF have produced an information sheet Christmas contact with loved ones who lack capacity which can be downloaded here. The information sheet includes a template letter for requesting a best interests meeting to form a Christmas bubble and details of where families can access support when the CBF is not available. Please note that the information was correct at the time of writing, but we recommend that you check the government guidance following the recent announcement of new Tier 4 restrictions. Access have produced an information resource on the new restrictions which can be found here.

You can read the full CBF statement in response to the CQC independent review of Whorlton Hall here.

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