Abuse and Neglect continues to be reported to charities despite lessons from Winterbourne View

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Yesterday saw the release of the serious case review relating to the appalling treatment of people at the Winterbourne View care home, as exposed in the BBC Panorama programme last year.

The review, chaired by Margaret Flynn, points to a lack of leadership amongst commissioners, as well as criticising the role of the Care Quality Commission and the service provider at the time, Castlebeck.

The organisations involved have released statements identifying actions they are planning to take to bring about improvements, and national campaigning organisations have called for strong government action to close large institutions and develop appropriate local services, all of which of course, is in line with the original Mansell report from the early 1990s and was highlighted in the Department of Health Interim Report

The recommendations from the Serious Cased Review include

  • A call for greater investment in community-based care to reduce in-patient admissions at assessment, treatment and rehabilitation units.
  • The need for outcome-based commissioning for hospitals detaining people with learning disabilities and autism and the discontinuation of the use of ‘t-supine restraint’ (in which patients are laid on the ground with staff using their body weight to restrain them).
  • A call for notifications of concern, including safeguarding alerts, hospital admissions and police attendances, to be better co-ordinated and shared amongst safeguarding organisations.

The original Mansell report based its recommendations on four exemplar services which were provided good quality local support to people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. In 2011, we have further evidence from the work of the Association for Supported Living of how local, personalised services can provide an alternative to large, institutional responses

There are still significant numbers of people in large assessment and treatment units and out of area placements. Designed to provide short-stay assessments and specialist treatments, more than half of people admitted stay for more than two years, with nearly a third staying for more than five years.

Also released yesterday was a joint report from Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, Out of Sight, which  tells the stories of a number of people who have challenging behaviours where there have been serious deficiencies in support that have occurred since the Winterbourne View scandal. There have been over 260 reports to the two charities from families concerning abuse and neglect in institutional care since the Winterbourne View scandal in June 2011.

You can read the Independent Serious Case Review here

You can read Out of Sight, the joint Mencap/Challenging Behaviour Foundation report here

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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