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Winterbourne View Hospital

Volume 547: debated on Monday 25 June 2012

I promised to update the House about ongoing activity in relation to Winterbourne View private hospital.

I am today publishing an interim report of the review which I set up to establish the facts and bring forward actions to improve care and outcomes of people with learning disability or autism and behaviours that challenge. The interim report has been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.

This interim report does not cover what happened at Winterbourne View itself. I will be able to report on that once current criminal proceedings against former staff at the hospital are completed and all the evidence is published in the serious case review being conducted by South Gloucestershire council.

But there is already good evidence that the health and care system is not meeting the needs of people with learning disability or autism and behaviour which challenges, and there is an unacceptable gap between best practice and actual practice.

This interim report looks at the quality of the health and care support provided to the approximately 15,000 people in England with learning disabilities or autism who have mental health conditions or behaviour which challenges, and the quality of health and care services they receive. It draws on the reports of the Care Quality Commission’s focused inspection of 150 hospitals and care homes for people with learning disabilities, widespread engagement with people with learning disabilities, people with autism, family carers, voluntary groups, health and care commissioners, providers and professionals, as well as the regulators, and other evidence submitted to the review team.

The main findings set out in the interim report are that there are too many people in in-patient services for assessment and treatment and they are staying there for too long. This model of care has no place in the 21st century. Best practice is for people to have access to the support and services they need locally to enable them to live fulfilling lives integrated within the community. In too many services there is robust evidence of poor quality of care, poor care planning, lack of meaningful activities to do in the day, and too much reliance on restraining people.

All parts of the system—commissioners, providers, workforce, regulators and Government—must play their part in driving up standards of care and demonstrating zero tolerance of abuse. This includes acting immediately where poor practice or substandard care is suspected.

Our key objectives are to:

improve commissioning across health and care services for people with behaviour which challenges with the aim of reducing the number of people using in-patient assessment and treatment services;

clarify roles and responsibilities across the system and support better integration between health and care;

improve the quality of services to give people with learning disabilities and their families choice and control;

promote innovation and positive behavioural support and reduce the use of restraint; and

establish the right information to enable local commissioners to benchmark progress in commissioning services that meet individuals’ needs, improve the quality of care, and reduce the numbers of people in in-patient services for assessment and treatment.

The report sets out clear actions at a national level to support local improvement and ensure that we are able to deliver these key objectives.

I will continue to update the House and will publish the final report of the Winterbourne View review in the autumn.