On 21st February 2023, NHS England published a much-delayed report on the safety and wellbeing of all people with a learning disability and autistic people who were detained in inpatient units on 31st October 2021.
There are over 2000 people with a learning disability and autistic people locked away in inpatient mental health hospitals in England. Many are there due to lack of community support and services to meet their needs, not because they need to be in a mental health hospital.
Following the exposure of abuse at Winterbourne View in 2011, the UK government has committed to “transform care” and build the right community support and services for people with a learning disability and autistic people. However, multiple deadlines for achieving positive change have been set, and missed. There is one year to go until March 2024, the latest deadline for reducing the number of people with a learning disability and autistic people in inpatient units by half. The data suggests this deadline will not be met, and Mencap and the CBF are launching a campaign to ask the public to take action on an issue that has been overlooked for too long.
This campaign builds on and aligns with the work of many other individuals and organisations calling for change. It shares the experiences of the families of people with a learning disability who have been affected by this lack of action who have been tirelessly fighting for their loved ones’ rights and for change.
We are asking people to share these stories and write to their MPs to call on Maria Caulfield, the minister in charge of the ‘Building the Right Support’ programme, to take action so that people with a learning disability and autistic people live good lives in their community in homes, not hospitals.
You can find more about this campaign on Mencap’s website. The CBF and Mencap will also be sharing this campaign on our social media channels.
BBC Disclosure has aired a documentary investigating why four young men with learning disabilities in Scotland have been stuck in secure hospitals for years.