News story

Partners issue joint statement 2 years after Winterbourne View

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Department of Health, NHS England, Local Government Association, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Care Quality Commission and the National Forum of People with Learning Disabilities have issued a statement.

The joint statement emphasises these organisations’ commitment to making the lives of people with learning disabilities better and safer, and improving their health and care. It states that the safety and wellbeing of former Winterbourne View patients is a prime concern and gives details of funding provided by the Department of Health during 2013 to 2014, to support former Winterbourne View patients and their families.

The statement has been issued following a meeting of Winterbourne View concordat signatories. The meeting brought together most of the organisations that signed the Winterbourne View concordat and the members of the NHS England and Local Government Association Winterbourne View Joint Improvement Board, to review progress and discuss further action.

The Winterbourne View concordat is a commitment to a programme of change to improve the quality of care offered to children, young people and adults with learning disabilities or autism who have mental health conditions or behaviour that challenges. It was signed by more than 50 organisations and published in December 2012. The Winterbourne View Joint Improvement Board leads the main aspects of this programme of work and will be providing support to local commissioners.

Last month, Norman Lamb wrote to all the chairs of health and wellbeing boards to ask them to focus their attention on improving standards for people with learning disabilities.

The Department of Health will publish a progress report later in the summer, setting out how well the sector is meeting the milestones and providing further checks to make sure that the number of people in assessment and treatment centres continues to go down.

This is the full statement:

Joint statement issued by Department of Health, NHS England, Local Government Association, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Care Quality Commission and the National Forum of People with Learning Disabilities: Winterbourne View – 2 years on

No-one can have failed to have been shocked at the abuse and neglect shown at Winterbourne View in the BBC Panorama programme on 31 May 2011. Since that date, the Department of Health has undertaken a thorough and wide ranging review working closely with organisations responsible for care and those who support people with learning disabilities. The final report ‘Transforming Care: A national response to Winterbourne View Hospital’ was published in December 2012 with a concordat with over 50 signatories including stakeholders, providers, people with learning disabilities and their families and carers. Our commitment to making the lives of people with learning disabilities better and safer, and improving their health and care is paramount.

The safety and wellbeing of former Winterbourne View patients is a prime concern. Two years after this abuse was exposed they should all be receiving the best possible care in appropriate settings. We know that at 1 March 2013 the majority of former patients were in community based settings nearer their families. NHS England and the Local Government Association through the joint improvement programme, set up under ‘Transforming Care’, are continuing to work with local areas as a matter of priority to make sure everyone gets the individual care that they need. This has to be a matter of ongoing review, as individual needs change and circumstances alter.

Further, in recognition of the particular needs of former patients and their families, and the possible longer term effects of the abuse suffered, the Department of Health has provided funding during 2013/14 to support former Winterbourne View patients and their families. The funding will provide counselling and support through Respond, a UK-based charity supporting people with learning disabilities, their relatives and professionals affected by trauma and abuse.

As well as former Winterbourne View patients, there are many other people with learning disabilities or autism in NHS-funded hospital care. The commitment we made in the Winterbourne View concordat was to work together to ensure that that by 1 June they will all have had their care reviewed and a personal care plan developed, built around their particular needs, taking into account the views of their family carers. And, most importantly, ensuring they receive the right support to enable them to lead fulfilling and safe lives in the community. This is a priority for us all.

We and other signatories to the Winterbourne View concordat are meeting this week to discuss progress on the whole programme of work in ‘Transforming Care’ and the concordat. We will be agreeing what further action needs to be taken.

Background

The Winterbourne View concordat stated that:

  • by 1 June 2013 health and care commissioners, working with service providers, people who use services and families, will review the care of all people in learning disability or autism inpatient beds and agree a personal care plan for each individual based around their and their families’ needs and agreed outcomes
  • everyone inappropriately placed in hospital will move to community-based support as quickly as possible and no later than 1 June 2014

NHS England and the Local Government Association have set up a joint improvement programme to provide leadership and support to local areas to ensure this change happens.

Signatories to the Winterbourne View Concordat are meeting this week to review progress across the programme of work.

The Department of Health will publish an update on progress later in the summer.

Quotes

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said:

The abuse and neglect we saw at Winterbourne View was inhuman and although I acknowledge these are complex cases we cannot accept a slow response to tackling the very serious issues raised.

I am also determined to ensure that there will be no hiding place for any area which fails to stick to the plan we published last December. I have made it clear that we will publish details of what commissioners across the country have done at each stage. Those that fail to do what is necessary to transform services will be named and shamed. We cannot tolerate any longer the rights of people with learning disabilities being ignored or downgraded.

That is why we expect local areas to make it a priority to review every case and give everyone a care plan by June and to ensure it is done to a high standard so that people get the care that they need, where they need it.

I will be meeting with the partners delivering this work this week to discuss progress and agree what further needs to be done.

A spokesperson for NHS England said:

We are currently collecting information from our regional offices on their work in ensuring reviews of the care and agreed personal care plans are in place for all those with learning disabilities or autism who are being cared for as inpatients. We will give a detailed update in July to the Ministerial Learning Disability Board, when this information has been fully collated and checked.

We are confident that the majority of these patients now have clear personal care plans, reviewed and agreed in conjunction with their families, and continue to work hard to ensure all patients get the excellent care they need in the setting most suitable for them.

Gavin Harding from the National Forum of People with Learning Disabilities said:

Progress has been patchy with some areas doing more to change than others. Since Winterbourne View, CQC have included ‘experts by experience’ in their inspections and this has really challenged the ways things are being done. We are aware there is still a long way to go.