Winterbourne View 12 years on

The 31st May marks 12 years since BBC Panorama exposed abuse at Winterbourne View hospital

Today (31st May 2023) is the 12th anniversary of the Panorama programme Undercover Care: the abuse exposed that shone a spotlight on the abuse of people with learning disabilities and autistic people in a private hospital. It led the Government announcing a programme called “Transforming Care” which promised to tackle and address systemic issues and ensure that people with learning disabilities and autistic people received the right support in the right place at the right time.

10 years after that Panorama programme, some of the relatives of the people who were subjected to abuse at Winterbourne View Hospital wrote a report Tea, Smiles and Empty Promises as, a decade later, care had clearly not been transformed. Other abuse has been exposed, and the systemic issues remain. The much revised and extended target for reducing the number of people in inpatient units will be missed again, next March.

As Tea, Smiles and Empty Promises shows, the actions needed are well known but have not been delivered: it is people with learning disabilities and their relatives who continue to pay a very high price for this failure.

Support from the CBF

Resources on our website

The CBF has information available for anyone who has concerns about the issues raised which can be found here:

When things go wrong

Supporting organisations

Family Support Service

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this statement, you can call the Family Support Service on 0300 666 0126

Or email us at

We are open at the following times:

Monday – Thursday: 9am – 5pm
Friday: 9am – 3pm

We offer information about challenging behaviour to anyone who provides support to a child, young person or adult with a severe learning disability. We can also signpost you to other specialist organisations and sources of information.

Please note we are a small support service so you may not be able to get support straight away. We will support families with urgent concerns as a priority.

Professionals are also welcome to contact the CBF.

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