Post Winterbourne View: Care Home Abuse Could Happen Again

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Post Winterbourne View, Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation warn that abuse could happen again unless the government takes action.

Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation said they received 260 reports from families concerning abuse and neglect in care homes since the BBC Panorama programme which was aired in May 2011.

Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation produced a joint report, Out of Sight, which detailed a number of serious incidents reported by families, including physical assault, sexual abuse and the overuse of restraint.

Mencap chief executive Mark Goldring said “We fear that unless the government commits to a strong action plan to close large institutions and develop appropriate local services for people with a learning disability, there is a very real risk that another Winterbourne View will come to light.

The campaigners are concerned that there are risks in moving patients far away from their families, where people are at particular risk of neglect and abuse.  Vivien Cooper, founder of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation expressed concerns about patients’ safety and welfare. “Many hundreds of people with a learning disability are being sent away to care institutions hundreds of miles from home, where they remain for years unnecessarily, at risk of neglect and abuse”.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Health said it is “vital all services are commissioned properly, reviewed regularly and not used as a long-term solution. We are clear that wherever possible people should be supported to live in their own homes within their local community. In a small number of cases people might need access to good quality assessment and treatment services which might include some short periods of in-patient care. However this is not a substitute for high quality care within the community”.

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