The CBF and Mencap respond to the Learning Disability Census 2014 and Transforming Care for People with Learning Disabilities - Next Steps


There needs to be urgent change on the ground to convince people with a learning disability and their families that failure is not going to be repeated.


Mencap and The Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) respond to today’s (29 January 2015) publication of ‘Learning Disability Census 2014’ and ‘Transforming Care for People with Learning Disabilities - Next Steps’. 


The Learning Disability Census 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. It reveals that, in 2014:


  • There were 3,230 people receiving inpatient care, which is almost no change since last year (3,250).
  • Average length of stay in an institution was 5.4 years.
    • 2205 people had been in an institution for a year or more, and 540 for more than 10 years.
  • 1,055 did not need inpatient care according to their care plan.
  • 2,345 people (73%) had received antipsychotic medication either regularly or as needed in the 28 days prior to the census collection. Use of antipsychotic medication has increased between 2013 and 2014.
  • 1,780 people (55%) had one or more incidents (self-harm, accidents, physical assault, restraint or seclusion) in the three months prior to census day. 


The Government promised that, by June 2014, people with a learning disability would be supported to return to their communities from units like Winterbourne View, and get the right support and services in their local areas. After the Government’s failure to honour this commitment, NHS England commissioned Sir Stephen Bubb to produce a report on how to accelerate the transformation that people with learning disabilities and their families are looking for.


Following Sir Stephen Bubb’s report, NHS England, the Department of Health, the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care, the Care Quality Commission and Health Education England today responded to the recommendations.


Jan Tregelles, Chief Executive at Mencap, and Viv Cooper, Chief Executive at the Challenging Behaviour Foundation said:
“Today’s publication by NHS England and its partners is the first recognition that collectively they understand the scale of the problem but does not do enough to take us nearer to delivering the key recommendations from the Bubb report.  There needs to be a clear, timetabled nationwide closure programme and investment in and development of local services, so thousands of people can be brought out of inappropriate settings and returned to their local community with good support. It will disappoint thousands of people with a learning disability and their families, who have been fighting for their right to be supported in the community, and for changes to the way support is provided for people with a learning disability and behaviour described as challenging.


“After the scandal of abuse and neglect at Winterbourne View, the government promised change. Following the failure to meet the June 2014 deadline to move people out of institutions, NHS England took a lead in driving forward urgent changes. They commissioned Sir Stephen Bubb’s November 2014 report, which set out clear recommendations. Bubb called for closure of units providing inappropriate care, the development of local housing and support services, and new training initiatives to develop the right skills and expertise to commission and deliver better care and support. Today, these recommendations have not been adequately addressed, leaving thousands of families whose loved ones are stuck in units still wondering when change will happen.


“Alarmingly, we know more people are still going in than coming out of units, while many people have been in them for years.  We need to see a systematic change to commissioning practices across health and social care, and joint working to create local services to both prevent in-patient admissions and enable people to return to their communities.


“The Learning Disability Census shows that things are not getting any better despite over two years worth of work on this area. The commitments made in ’Transforming Care for People with Learning Disabilities -- Next Steps’ need to bring about urgent change on the ground to convince people with a learning disability and their families that this failure is not just going to be repeated.”



(Click image to see an enlarged version)


You can download the full press release here.



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