Today (Wednesday 26 April) the Public Accounts Committee has published its report on its inquiry into the delivery and progress made by Department of Health and NHS England’s Transforming Care Programme and if people with a learning disability are getting the support needed to live in the community.

The ‘Local support for people with a learning disability’ report states that despite some progress being made, more needs to be done by the Department of Health and NHS England to address known barriers to moving people with a learning disability out of hospital settings and makes recommendations to ensure both partners meet targets set out in the Transforming Care programme.

Mencap’s Head of Policy Dan Scorer and Viv Cooper, Chief Executive of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation both gave oral evidence at the Inquiry on 29th March.

Jan Tregelles, chief executive at learning disability charity Mencap, and Viv Cooper, chief executive at the Challenging Behaviour Foundation said:

We welcome the PAC’s ongoing commitment to ensuring care is transformed for people with a learning disability, autism and behaviour that challenges, holding both the Department of Health and NHS England to account on their promise to close 900-1,300 beds across inpatient settings by 2019. The Committee’s focus on monitoring progress is vitally important in assessing if Transforming Care is on track, or whether urgent measures need to be taken to ensure children and adults with a learning disability are moved out of inpatient settings, where they are at increased risk of abuse and neglect, and supported in the community.

The committee’s recommendation on the pressing need for the Department of Health to develop a new cross-government strategy on improving access to community-based health care and support for people with a learning disability is also welcomed. It is crucial the incoming Government addresses this and both and both Mencap and the CBF will continue to campaign for urgent action.

The Learning Disability Census 2015 Report published 15/12/15 has shown the high risk of abuse that people in these units are at risk of. It confirmed:

  • 72% had received antipsychotic medication, yet only 28.5% were recorded as having a psychotic disorder
  • 1,670 had experienced one or more incidents (self-harm, accidents, physical assault, restraint or seclusion) in the 3 months prior to census
  • Average length of stay in an institution is 4.9 years
  • 670 people are 100km or more from home, an increase of 17% on last year

-ENDS-

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 or media@mencap.org.uk or for out of hours 07770 656 659.

 

Notes to editors

About Mencap

There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works 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. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.

www.mencap.org.uk  

For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email help@mencap.org.uk

 

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.

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.

Learning disability is NOT a mental illness or a learning difficulty. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.