Charities call for Government action to end systemic poor care and abuse at institutions for people with a learning disability
Monday 25 June 2012
Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation are calling on the Government to take strong action to end systemic poor care and abuse at large, institutional-style services for people with a learning disability.
The learning disability charities are concerned following the publication today of two official reports into services for people with a learning disability. The reports from the Care Quality Commission and the Department of Health highlight continued failings to protect people in care from abuse. Both reports acknowledge that services must improve.
The charities are calling for the phased closure of large, institutional-style services for people with a learning disability, and their replacement by appropriate local services.
In a joint statement, Mencap chief executive Mark Goldring, and Challenging Behaviour Foundation chief executive Viv Cooper, say:
“One year on from Panorama’s undercover investigation into a private hospital for people with a learning disability, people continue to remain in large, out of town units for long periods of time, isolated and at risk of abuse and neglect.
Action is needed to stop people with a learning disability and behaviour that challenges being sent away to these services.
The government’s proposals on local action will not be enough to create the systemic change needed. We are looking for a direct commitment from government to put in place a strong, practical action plan with clear targets when it publishes its final review in September.”
Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation are calling for local areas to develop skilled long term support for people with a learning disability and behaviour that challenges. Crisis situations for families can be avoided by a focus on prevention, early intervention and developing a skilled workforce. The charities believe that people should be able to access the support and services they need in their local area and live fulfilling lives within the community.
Today, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its report of 145 inspections of services for people with a learning disability, which found that nearly half the hospitals and care homes inspected did not meet essential standards of care and protecting people from abuse.
The Department of Health also today published its interim report on Winterbourne View. The final Department of Health review is expected in September 2012.
Notes to editors
For media enquiries, please contact Catherine Raynor at Mencap: firstname.lastname@example.org, 020 7696 5414 or 07949 857259
There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers by fighting to change laws and improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
We are also one of the largest providers of services, information and advice for people with a learning disability across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. People with a learning disability and their carers can find out more about our services by calling Mencap Direct on 0300 333 111 or by visiting www.mencap.org.uk
What is a learning disability?
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability and difficulty with everyday activities – for example household tasks, socialising or managing money – which affects someone for their whole life.
People with a learning disability tend to take longer to learn and may need support to develop new skills, understand complex information and interact with other people.
The level of support someone needs depends on individual factors, including the severity of their learning disability.
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation
Behaviour can be described as challenging when it is of such an intensity, frequency or duration as to threaten the quality of life and/or the physical safety of the individual or others and it is likely to lead to responses that are restrictive, aversive or result in exclusion.
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation provides information, support and training around challenging behaviour associated with severe learning disabilities, and leads the ‘Challenging Behaviour National Strategy Group’ which seeks to influence policy and practice nationally on behalf of individuals who challenge and their families.
‘Severe learning disability’ is a developmental disability meaning the individual has a significantly reduced ability to learn new skills. Individuals with severe learning disabilities typically have very limited communication skills, often non verbal, and need help with daily living skills such as eating and dressing. Challenging behaviour shown by individuals with severe learning disabilities may include aggression, self injury, disruptive and destructive behaviours, stereotyped behaviour, and is most often due to their lack of ability to communicate their needs.
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation was founded in 1997 by Vivien Cooper, parent of a son with severe learning disabilities and behaviour described as challenging. Today the Challenging Behaviour Foundation is in regular contact with over 4500 families and professionals across the UK.
There are an estimated 30,000 individuals in England with severe learning disabilities and behaviour described as challenging.
For more information visit www.challengingbehaviour.org.uk or contact:
The Challenging Behaviour Foundation
Telephone: 01634 838739