Laura Sharman 05 November 2019

Thousands of inpatients with learning disabilities and autism to receive care review

Thousands of people with learning disabilities and autism that have detained in a mental health hospital will have their care reviewed over the next 12 months, the Government announced today.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said all 2,250 inpatients will receive a discharge date or a plan to achieve one in the next year.

The move follows a report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights that found many young people with learning disabilities and autism being detained in hospitals were being subject to ‘horrific’ treatment and conditions.

An independent panel will conduct the review with a view to providing each patient with a discharge date, or a clear explanation of why this is not appropriate.

Mr Hancock, said: ‘For those living with learning disabilities and autistic people, the current system can leave them in isolation for long periods of time, with no prospect of release into the community.

‘I am determined to put this right and today we are committing to reviewing the care of every patient with learning disability and autism over the next 12 months – alongside a clear plan to get them discharged back into their homes and communities. I have also asked for advice on separating out the law regarding those with learning disabilities and autism from the law regarding mental health.’

Under the plans, all health and social care staff will also receive training on autism and on learning disability, backed by £1.4m of government funding.

Baroness Sheila Hollins, chair of the new panel, said: ‘Our focus will be on each person’s humanity, and entitlement to live an ordinary and safe life in a place where their own concerns and needs will be understood and met by supporters who treat them with respect and have the right skills and supervision.’

The Government has committed to reducing the number of inpatients by up to 400 by the end of March 2020.

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