After Winterbourne

We have been campaigning for seven years to make sure the Government takes action to stop abuse happening and to enable people to get the right support for their needs and move out of institutions like Winterbourne View.


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The Situation

In response to the abuse revealed at Winterbourne, the Government put an action plan in place. They committed to a timetable to ensure the 3,250 children and adults in assessment and treatment units like Winterbourne were supported to move back to their local communities by 1st June 2014.

There has been an appalling failure to meet this deadline. Recent NHS figures show more people with a learning disability are going into units than are leaving them.

Alongside Mencap, the Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) has released a report highlighting the shocking situation:

  • 3,250 people with a learning disability remain in assessment and treatment units in EnglandWinterbourne View: The Scandal Continues
  • More people with a learning disability are going into units than are leaving them
  • NHS England research shows that between September 2013 and March 2014:
    • 544 people were admitted to units,
    • 339 people came out of units, and
    • 90% of the thousands of people in units have no set date when they will leave

Read Winterbourne View: The Scandal Continues.

You can sign our petition calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to take personal responsibility and address the Government's failure and you can read our full statement here.

The Learning Disability Census was carried out in September 2013. The Census recorded the number of people with learning disabilities or autism who were in in-patient beds in September 2013. The in-depth Census Report, published in April, showed the numbers of people in units who are overmedicated, restrained and kept in isolation. This information is summarised in the graphic below.

Infographic: A place to call home

Click on the infographic above to see a larger version as a PDF. This infographic was published on the 29th of April. Subsequent data published by the NHS reveals even higher numbers being admitted to in-patient units.

Driving Change

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation and Mencap have been supporting a group of family carers whose relatives have been living in out of area placements, including Winterbourne View, to campaign for change.

The families recently attended the All Party Parliamentary Group on Learning Disability Meeting to discuss progress since Winterbourne View. Vivien Cooper of the CBF and Phill Wills, who is campaigning to bring his son back to Cornwall, spoke about the human cost of the failure to take effective action.

The families met with the Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, in December 2012 and again in 2013 and in March 2014. They raised concerns about the lack of progress since the Panorama programme and asked for clarification on what the Government intends to do to address the situation. Norman Lamb recently visited an Assessment and Treatment unit to meet Fauzia, a teenager who has been there for over 20 months.

Out of Sight

Photo of out of sight report

Out of Sight is a campaign report by the Challenging Behaviour Foundation and Mencap. It was launched one year after the BBC’s Panorama programme which exposed shocking abuse of people with a learning disability at Winterbourne View, an assessment and treatment unit near Bristol.

Out of Sight tells the stories of James, Chrissy, Joe, Emmanuel and Victoria. In the report, their families share stories about the horrific abuse and neglect their loved one suffered in institutions like Winterbourne View, often miles away from home. Their families talk about their struggles as they fought to have their loved ones moved closer to home.

In response to the panorama programme, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out 150 inspections on services for people with a learning disability. Shockingly, their report showed that almost half of these services did not comply with CQC minimum standards for the care and welfare of the individual using the service, and safeguarding people in the service from abuse.

What happened at Winterbourne View, the CQC inspections, and our Out of sight report show that people with learning disabilities and behaviour described as challenging are all too often left isolated in institutions and at risk of abuse. This needs to change.

We are calling on the Government to urgently address systemic failings in the care of people with a learning disability, by closing large institutions and developing appropriate local services.

For more information, read the full version of the report, the easy read version of the report, or visit Mencap’s website:

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