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28 May 2021

Comment: better care provisions needed for people with learning disabilities and autism

2 mins

Ten years on from the BBC Panorama documentary that exposed the abuse of residents at Winterbourne View care home, families of the residents involved have written to the prime minister demanding better care for adults with learning disabilities.

Elizabeth Cleaver, solicitor in our Public Law team, comments: 

Many of us will remember the horrifying images of abuse at Winterbourne View exposed by Panorama ten years ago. It is completely unacceptable that ten years on, over 2,000 people with learning disabilities and autism remain detained in assessment and treatment units. Despite the promises made, this figure has not significantly reduced since 2011. The number of learning disability hospital beds has quite rightly been reduced nationally, but crucially these have not been replaced by the community services that people with learning disabilities deserve.

Instead we are regularly called upon to advise patients and their families about highly inappropriate admissions to general mental health wards, or to learning disability units many miles away. These admissions are almost always caused by a lack of appropriate community services. The government simply must tackle this issue. People with learning disabilities and autism have the right to safe and stable homes within their local communities, with appropriate person-centred care.

For more information on this topic, visit our Health and Community Care Law webpage, or contact Elizabeth Cleaver

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