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Review into death of James Hughes reveals failings
Tuesday 01 September 2009
A report has revealed failings leading up to the death of a severely disabled man, James Hughes, who died in April last year aged 21.
The serious case review has ruled that social services and health professionals "fell short of the expected standards of assessment and review of his needs". It said staff at two care centres voiced fears for James's welfare in December 2007, but county council social workers did not act for two months and never saw him.
David Congdon, head of campaigns and policy at learning disability charity Mencap said:
"James Hughes' death is yet another tragic example of how a vulnerable adult with a learning disability has slipped through the net due to the collective irresponsibility of the agencies responsible for their care. This sad case highlights the need for proper safeguarding legislation so that vulnerable adults like James Hughes are kept safe.
"Mencap urges the government to start taking the safeguarding of vulnerable adults as seriously as child protection. Until this happens, individuals like James Hughes and his mother Heather will continue to be betrayed by our care system."
Notes to editors
For further information please contact Lucy Hannagan, firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7696 6017
- Mencap works with people with a learning disability and their families and carers.
- 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability.
- A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops before, during or shortly after birth. It is always lifelong.
- Learning disability affects someone's intellectual and social development all their life. People with a learning disability find it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate.
- People with a learning disability don't get an equal chance in life. Mencap fights to change laws and services and to provide better access to education, employment and leisure facilities, supporting thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
- It is not a mental illness and should not be confused with mental health issues. It is not dyslexia or Asperger's syndrome.
- It used to be called mental handicap but we don't use this term anymore because most people with a learning disability find it offensive.
- For information about learning disability issues please call the Learning Disability Helpline (England) on 0808 808 1111 or visit www.mencap.org.uk
- For online press information, go to www.mencap.org.uk/press