Today, the Health and Social Care Committee has published its report following an inquiry into the treatment of autistic people and people with a learning disability.

The Health and Social Care Committee is calling for the Government to ban all admissions to long-term institutional care for people with a learning disability and/or autism.

Mencap responds to the report and its recommendations.

Dan Scorer, Head of Policy at the learning disability charity Mencap, said: 

“This important report provides yet further evidence that not enough has been done to stop this national scandal. Since the abuse of people with a learning disability and/or autism at Winterbourne View was exposed a decade ago, thousands more people have been admitted to these modern-day asylums where they are at increased risk of abuse and neglect.  

“We welcome the Committee’s ambition to ban all long-term inpatient admissions, but this must go further by stopping all inappropriate admissions. These hospitals are completely the wrong environments for people with a learning disability and/or autism – they are noisy, chaotic and restrictive. While locked away, people often deteriorate and end up stuck for years.  

“The Government must act on the Committee’s recommendations. As part of its forthcoming social care reform, the Government must provide significant ring-fenced funding to build the right support in the community to stop inappropriate admissions and get those still stuck in these hospitals out. This would help remove the perverse financial incentives whereby the NHS pays for admissions, but local authorities must provide the support needed in the community for discharge. The Government must act now to close modern-day asylums and create a social care system that is fit for the 21st century.”

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   For further information or to arrange interviews, contactMencap’smedia team on:

Notes to editors

  1. Mencap has been campaigning with families on these issues since the abuse scandal at Winterbourne View ten years ago.
  2. Mencap is asking the Government to focus on:   
  • Developing local expertise, support and services  
  • Ensuring there is joint oversight and ownership of the national programme by the Ministers from the Department of Health and Social Care, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Department for Education.  
  • Removing the red tape and funding barriers that are preventing so many people from returning home.   
  • A robust plan from leadership for cross-government working.

About Mencap

There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK.Mencapworks to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities.Mencapsupports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they

For advice and information about learning disability andMencapservices in your area, contactMencap’s FreephoneLearning Disability Helplineon 0808 808 1111 (10am-3pm, Monday-Friday) or   

What is a learning disability?

  • A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life;
  • Learning disability is NOT a mental illness or a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’;
  • People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.