Out of sight campaign

In 2011, BBC Panorama exposed the shocking abuse of people with learning disabilities at the now closed Winterbourne View hospital near Bristol.

Since then Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation have been working with families to help ensure people with a learning disability are moved out of inpatient units and get the right care and support in their local communities, near family and friends.  

What was Winterbourne View?

Winterbourne View was a privately run specialist hospital for the assessment and treatment of people with learning disabilities, autism and/or challenging behaviour. 

Significant abuse and neglect of some of the people residing at Winterbourne View led to 11 members of staff being arrested and charged. There was a national outcry after the documentary was shown.

Read Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation’s Out of Sight report to find out about some of the people who have been stuck in similar places to Winterbourne View.

Winterbourne View

 

Since Winterbourne View

After the exposure of Winterbourne View, the government committed to a programme of work aimed at supporting people to move out of units and back to their local communities. The government promised the 3,250 children and adults who were then in inpatient units would be supported to move back to their local communities by 1st June 2014.

This simply didn’t happen. The deadline passed with more people in inpatient units than before the promise was made. Read Winterbourne View: The Scandal Continues to find out more about why we continue to fight for change. We have continued the fight alongside families of people in units, and those whose family members have been in before to ensure that no further promises are broken.

The government is now committed to a new timetable, closing 35-50% of inpatient beds for people with learning disabilities and ensuring the right support and services are developed in local areas, by March 2019.

However, a number of recent reports show a worrying lack of progress, including:

Take a look at our 7 years on from the Winterbourne View abuse scandal infographic here.

What's next? Getting real change

The government has been clear that hospitals are not homes and that people should get the right support in their community but too many people remain in inpatient units where we know that they are at increased risk of abuse and neglect.

The Transforming Care Programme is being led by NHS England. They have produced a plan called Building the Right Support, which says that the right support and services for people with learning disabilities must be developed in local areas, and the number of inpatient beds across the country must reduce. They have written a 'service model' which sets out what the right support and services look like.

They have set up 48 Transforming Care Partnerships (TCPs), which cover the whole of England and are made up of representatives of social care and health. Each TCP has written a plan setting out what they will change in their area to make sure care is transformed for people with a learning disability and behaviour that challenges in line with Building the Right Support.

To find out how you can help keep up the pressure, use our Making it Happen guide for campaigners and Easy Read version. We produced this alongside families, the Challenging Behaviour Foundation and the National Autistic Society in 2016 to explain how to work with the Transforming Care Partnerships to achieve real change. It has information about what to ask and who to ask. 

Mencap and CBF are working with families and other organisations to keep the pressure on the Government and NHS England to ensure real change happens for people with a learning disability and their families.

Further resources

We have produced a series of Meeting the Challenge guides, in partnership with the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, Respond and Change, for people with a learning disability and families to help them understand their rights, in the community and in inpatient units.

We worked with the National Autistic Society and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation on some guides about getting involved in the work of local Transforming Care Partnerships (TCPs) and influencing decisions. Find out more and download the guides here.

We have also worked with the Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) to develop a resource for professionals about how to involve children and young people with severe or profound multiple learning disabilities about the support they receive. This is accompanied by guidance for commissioners and providers about how to support families to keep in touch with their child if they are sent out of area.

The CBF has also developed a resource on medication, as part of the NHS England-led STOMP programme: stopping the overmedication of people with a learning disability, autism or both, with psychotropic medicines. The resource is for family carers. 

Further reading

Making it Happen guide

Download our guide for campaigners about taking action to get people with a learning disability and/or with challenging behaviour out of inpatient units

Download resource Making it Happen
Making it Happen - easy read guide

Download our easy read guide for campaigners about taking action to get people with a learning disability and/or with challenging behaviour out of inpatient units

Download resource Making it Happen - easy read guide

You might also like

Our campaign reports

Download our current and past campaigning and policy reports
Read more

Campaigning

We are determined to change society for people with a learning disability - join us
Read more

Our work in Parliament

Find out about our work in Parliament
Read more