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The Transforming Care Programme was established to reduce the number of people with learning disabilities living in restrictive in-patient settings .  The aim was to develop appropriate local community support and services.  It is perfectly possible to support people with complex needs in the community with the right support and with services that meet their individual needs. 

The Transforming Care Programme has failed to deliver what was promised. Too many adults and children are admitted to, or remain in, inappropriate services that do not meet their needs, and recent media attention has shone a spotlight on what this actually means for people.    Sky News has highlighted how families continue to struggle to get the right support for their relative and how the system works against them when their relatives are in inpatient services. Figures obtained by the File on 4 programme show an alarming 50% rise in the use of restraint in inpatient settings from 15,065 (2016) to 22,620 (2017).   Prone (face down) restraint has risen 41% from 2,250 (2016) to 3,170 in 2017.  Use of seclusion (solitary confinement)  has risen by 44% and chemical restraint (medication) has risen by 26%.  We know that being subjected to restraint, seclusion and over medication is hugely traumatic and can have long term physical and emotional consequences.  The data, which is collected but not published, should be regularly scrutinised to understand the reasons for the increase and to address these urgently.  Restraint should only be used as a last resort, and Department of Health Guidance states “There must be no planned or intentional restraint of a person in a prone/face down position on any surface, not just the floor”.

A Sky News Freedom Of Information request also reveals that 40 people, who have been admitted to inpatient units for mental health issues, have died 9 of whom are under the age of 35. Given the known issue of avoidable and preventable death of people with learning disabilities this needs urgent scrutiny and attention to protect people who are in inpatient care.

We are pleased to note that Matt Hancock MP (Health Secretary) stated:” I am not happy with the level of progress so far and I am absolutely determined to deal with this…… much more needs to be done”. We look forward to hearing what action he will be taking.

“The Transforming Care Programme was an acknowledgement that no one part of the system could ‘transform care’ and was meant to be a multi-stakeholder approach to addressing the systemic issues that are well known and documented.  What is needed now, is a revised approach with clear accountability and learning from what has and hasn’t worked – we wait with interest to see what action Matt Hancock MP will take.  This requires a Cross-Government commitment to deliver the principles in ‘Building The Right Support’ with proper scrutiny and action to address a whole range of issues including people being in inappropriate settings that are high risk and where restraint and seclusion are used. Children and adults with learning disabilities and/ autism and mental health problems have the same human rights as everyone else, including access to the right support in the right place at the right time.” Viv Cooper, CEO

The CBF has produced a signposting list for anyone who may be affected by the issues this programme has raised: supportforfamiliesinfosheet2016.pdf

 

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