Real and immediate action needed - Mencap and The Challenging Behaviour Foundation respond to the Learning Disability Census report

Mencap and The Challenging Behaviour Foundation comment on the Learning Disability Census report, which was published today. It was commissioned in the wake of physical and psychological abuse suffered by people with a learning disability at Winterbourne View Hospital, exposed by a Panorama investigation broadcast in 2011. 

In particular it has been revealed that: out of 3,250 people with a learning disability in units:

  • 64% (2,064) had been given anti-psychotic medication on a regular basis leading up to Census day.
  • 56% (1,841) had experienced self harm, an accident, physical assault, hands–on restraint or been kept in isolation during the 3 months preceding the census
  • 86% (2,795) costing up to £4, 500 per week
  • 71% (2,2 97) don’t have a plan in place to move them out

Recent NHS data shows that over the 3 month period between September and December 2013: 247 patients with a learning disability were admitted to in-patient care and 124 patients were transferred out of in-patient care.

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

“In December, we were told that two and half years on from the Winterbourne View scandal, 3,250 people with a learning disability were still stuck in similar institutions. This was shocking enough, but what we have heard today about the actual circumstances of these individuals is profoundly worrying.

“That some of the most vulnerable people in our society are in settings where they are regularly restrained, over medicated and kept in isolation is utterly disgraceful.

“In addition, the fact that this appalling ‘care’ is costing the public purse, in many cases, up to £4,500 per week demands that urgent questions are asked and answers provided.

“It is not enough for the government to say it should not be happening. It is happening to people’s sons and daughters, brothers and sisters and, what’s more, people are continuing to go into these places faster than they are coming out.  The failure to stop this happening is an utter disgrace. We demand that the government takes urgent action and we expect to see immediate and real progress.”

Steve Sollars, father of Sam, who was at Winterboune View:

“It is devastating to hear that this is still happening.  My son, Sam, who was at Winterboune View, was restrained 45 times in a six month period.  We will never know how much more he was subjected for the rest of his two year time there.  When he came out of Winterbourne View Sam was unrecognisable because of what he had been through.  He is now flourishing in the place where he is.  Good care is possible and everything must be done to stop abuse and suffering of people who find themselves in similar places to Sam.”

The full Learning Disability Census report is available here.

For more information please download the full press statement.

a place called home infographic

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