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Increase in number of children and adults with learning disabilities and/ or autism in inpatient units

  • Increasing number of children and adults with a learning disability and/or autism being locked away in inpatient units – more than 2,250 people.
  • Highest ever number of reported uses of restrictive interventions e.g. physical restraint - 3,000 - in one month – 770 of which were against children.
  • No change in the number of children still locked away – 240 - which still more than double the number when programme began.
  • Average time in inpatient units away from home for people with a learning disability and/or autism is still over 5 years.

 

Vivien Cooper, CEO of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation says: “Children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and/ or autism – and their families- are paying a very high price for the failure of the Government and the NHS to deliver the transformation of care. Numerous reports, and this data, have clearly shown that individuals are ending up in the wrong services where they are at increased risk of abuse, neglect and restrictive practices, such as physical restraint. NHS England failed to achieve the promised closure of 35% of inpatient beds in March 2019 and simply extended the deadline to March 2020.  The latest data showing an increase in the number of inpatients does not provide any reassurance that the delayed target will even be achieved in March 2020.   

 

We’ve seen no change in the number of children in these places for the past three months – there are still more than double the number of children in inpatient units than when the programme started in 2015, with no one-year target for the reduction in inpatient beds for children. Alarmingly reported incidents of restraint on children is now 770 in a single month and yet the long- awaited guidance on the use of restrictive practices for children is still not published.

 

There is no clear plan of action from government on how to address a system that is clearly broken. Where is the senior leadership and cross-governmental plan for education, health, social care, and housing? How long before there is action that makes a difference to end this scandal?"

 

NHS Digital Learning Disability Services Statistics are available HERE.

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