The Building the Right Support for People with a Learning Disability and Autistic People Action Plan has been released today alongside an easy read version and the independent review of funding flows.
Many children, young people and adults with learning disabilities are detained inappropriately under the MHA, remaining for long periods in mental health hospitals, and subjected to restrictive and harmful practices such as restraint and solitary confinement. Multiple accounts and reports (e.g., the JCHR report on the detention of children and young people, the Cawston Park Serious Case Review ‘Joanna, Jon and Ben’, CQC’s ‘Out of Sight’ report, and the Panorama investigation into the Edenfield Centre) have exposed the high human and financial cost and human rights violations, (and identified actions that need to be taken), but progress is too slow.
Today (19th January 2023), the Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Health Bill published a report scrutinising the draft Bill’s contents, with recommendations for the government. This report is a step in the right direction recognising the inappropriate detention of children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and autistic people under the Mental Health Act. The report highlights once again the need to develop robust community support and services to avoid hospital admission, and to collect, monitor and report data on progress, which as yet has not been delivered.
It was hoped The Building the Right Support National Action plan, published in July 2022 (and referenced in the report) would implement change in care and support for people with learning disabilities. However, the action plan in its current format will not deliver: the action plan must be revised and substantially improved to address the fundamental issues, and support and invest in actions that will make a difference including a ring-fenced budget and mechanism to track outcomes.
Change is long overdue – The Mental Health Act Bill must deliver urgent reform to care and support as a priority to stop the inappropriate detention of children, young people and adults with a learning disability and autistic people.
CQC commissioned to review use of restraint, seclusion and segregation for autistic people, and people with a learning disability and/or mental health condition.