Bristol

Winterbourne View: Some patients 'still not in suitable homes'

Winterbourne View site
Image caption Six care workers were jailed over the abuse that was uncovered at Winterbourne View

Two years after abuse at a private hospital was exposed, charities want more action to help those affected.

Eleven care workers admitted a total of 38 charges after they were secretly filmed abusing and neglecting patients at Winterbourne View, near Bristol.

Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation said some patients had still not been found suitable homes.

Care minister Norman Lamb said ignoring the rights of the learning-disabled would no longer be tolerated.

'Abuse was inhuman'

A joint statement from the two charities said: "It is unacceptable that, two years on, we still don't know how many of the 48 people from Winterbourne View have been supported to move back into the community, where they should be.

"We are still working with families whose loved ones remain hundreds of miles away in inpatient institutions, despite families' ongoing efforts to bring them closer to home.

"We are very concerned that targets set only last year by the government to support people with a learning disability to move back into the local community may be missed."

On Saturday the government-imposed target passes, of getting every case reviewed with each patient receiving a suitable care plan.

All patients found to be inappropriately placed in hospital should be moved to community-based support as quickly as possible and no later than 1 June 2014.

The Department of Health said the majority of former patients had been moved to social care settings by 1 March and that NHS England was continuing to work with local areas on all cases.

Care and Support Minister Mr 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 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."

'Fracturing relationships'

He said confirmed that he would hold meetings next week to ensure progress continued to be made.

Margaret Flynn, who led the serious case review into what happened, said there had been extensive changes, but more needed to be done.

"We have many organisations that have signed up to developing services that do not require adults with learning disabilities and autism to be placed in assessment and treatment units for undefined periods," she said.

But she added "my guess is we are some considerable distance" from all patients in assessment and treatment units being back in their local communities.

"I think the harm that's done by fracturing people's relationships with their families and also with their GPs should never be underestimated."

Ms Flynn said: "The pace cannot be satisfactory for families, not least of all the families of young people who must be wondering whether or not Winterbourne View Hospital and its like are part of their waiting future.

"And for families whose daughters and sons were patients at Winterbourne View hospital, my sense is that there's still frustration that although two thirds are now in community-based settings, not everybody is as close to home as they would like to be."

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