Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation comment on the lack of progress since Winterbourne View

Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation  comment on “The Learning Disability Census”, and “Winterbourne View: Transforming Care – One Year On”, which were announced today (13 December 2013).  Both were commissioned in the wake of physical and psychological abuse suffered by people with a learning disability at Winterbourne View Hospital which was exposed by a Panorama investigation broadcast in 2011.  

In a letter published today in the Telegraph and on the Mencap website the families of the victims of Winterbourne View, families of others who have been in similar places, and supporting organisations expressed their concern at the lack of progress made. 

In particular it has been revealed today that:

  • There is barely any change in the number of people with a learning disability in inpatient units since 2010.  In the 2010 Census for England there were found to be 3,376 people and in 2013 the number is 3,250.
  • 60% (1949) of these people have been in units for one year or more.  Almost a quarter have been in five years or more
  • In the South West over half of people are in units 100Km or more from home (80 people).  In the North East just under 8.8% of people are in units 100Km or more from home (29 people)

Jan Tregelles, Chief Executive of Mencap, and Vivien Cooper, Chief Executive of The Challenging Behaviour Foundation, commented:

 “Finally, The Learning Disability Census Report, which shows how many people with a learning disability across the country are still in places like Winterbourne View, has been published. What it reveals is alarming – that the pace of progress has been distressingly slow.  This is undermining the confidence of families in the government process as they are increasingly concerned it will continue to fail to protect their loved ones. 

“It is now two and half years since the Winterbourne View scandal and the census and progress report show nothing has changed.  Many people with a learning disability are still in in-patient units hundreds of miles away from their homes and many have been there for over a year or more.  We recently found out that 13 people who were at  Winterbourne View are still in in-patient units and the census reveals that this is only the tip of the iceberg.  If the Government cannot get it right for even the 48 people who were at Winterbourne View  what chance is there for the 3,250 people stuck in similar units?  

This is shocking. We have been granted a once in a lifetime opportunity post Winterbourne View to get care right.  If the Government and local areas don’t stop dithering, we will miss this unique opportunity.  In so doing, they continue to fail not only people with a learning disability, but everyone who saw or heard about what happened at Winterbourne View and demanded change.”   

For more information, please download the full press statement.  

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