Community Services Urged For People With Learning Disabilities

Community Services Urged For People With Learning Disabilities

28.11.2014

A charter of rights should be created to protect patients with learning difficulties, according to a report.

The document led by Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, is titled Winterbourne View – Time for Change, named after the private hospital at the centre of a serious abuse scandal in 2011.

Sir Stephen said "immediate action" is necessary to reduce the number of people with learning difficulties who are being placed in institutional care instead of the community.

Recommendations within the report include the creation of a social investment fund to increase the capacity of community-based services, as well as a requirement for local decision-makers to follow a responsibility framework.

"We urge immediate action, to close all Winterbourne-style institutions and ramp up community provision," said Sir Stephen.

"We need a new charter of rights to empower people with learning disabilities and their families, and give them the right to challenge the system."

Expert Opinion
The scandal in relation to Winterbourne View raised very serious concerns and it is welcome to see active debate around action being taken to ensure that the same problems are not seen again.

"All patients deserve access to high quality, safe care whether it is in hospitals or within the community. On too many occasions we have seen circumstances when this has not been the case and everything should be done to tackle such problems.

"There is clearly room for argument about whether community based care is right for all people with learning disabilities, but in principle, anything that aims to ensure that people get the right support at the right time has to be welcomed."
Jonathan Peacock, Partner