Over 10,000 reported uses of restrictive interventions in 3 months against people with a learning disability and/ or autism in inpatient units



  • Over 10,000 reported uses of restrictive interventions in three months –  including 3,715 reported uses of restrictive interventions in April, the highest ever reported number


  • 2,255 people with a learning disability / autism are in inpatient units – a decrease of only five people since Transforming Care targets were missed at the end of March


  • 245 children in inpatient units at the end of August – more than double the number when the programme began


Vivien Cooper OBE, CEO of The Challenging Behaviour Foundation

"It is extremely concerning that levels of restraint are going up rather than down. We know that restrictive interventions cause long term damage and are indistinguishable from abuse to those experiencing them[1].

The CBF is working with family carers to reduce restrictive interventions. (Find out more here

There is clear evidence about how to provide good support to children, young people and adults with learning disabilities who display behaviours that challenge using Positive Behaviour Support. When will we see this change in practice so that care is really transformed?"


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

 “Since March 2019, we’ve seen an overall decrease of just five people in inpatient settings. We were told that by this stage of the Transforming Care programme we would have seen an accelerated rate of change, and yet as this data shows us there is very little progress being made. It’s shocking that we still have more than 2,000 people locked away in these ‘modern day asylums’.


“We have to remember that behind those figures are real people with rights. They are often hundreds of miles from their loved ones for long periods of time - the average length of stay is still more than 5 years. These are inappropriate environments for people with a learning disability and/or autism to be in, they are noisy and chaotic and patients are vulnerable to abuse, overmedication, isolation and segregation. In today’s data we are seeing over 10,000 reported incidents of restrictive interventions in a three month period. We are also seeing reported the highest ever number of interventions in one month – 3,715, over a thousand of which were against children. This is unacceptable and deeply shocking. We have to see urgent action from Government, NHS England and Local Authorities as this can’t be allowed to continue. People with a learning disability and/or autism have the right to live close to loved ones, with the right support, enabling them to live fulfilling lives.”


The full joint CBF and Mencap press release will be available shortly on Mencap's website. 


The latest NHS Digital figures are available here

The latest Infographic showing data is available here: 2019031transformingcaresept.pdf

[1] Macdonald et al (2011) “You squeal and squeal but they just hold you down” Restrictive Physical Interventions and people with intellectual disabilities: service user views. BILD, International Journal of Positive Behavioural Support.


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