To read on The Guardian website:
Note: In the UK, the term of ‘Learning disability’ is used instead of ‘Intellectual disability’.
Last NHS hospital in England for people with learning disabilities to close
Calderstones in Lancashire will close along with up to half 2,600 hospital beds in NHS and private sectors as part of changes following Winterbourne View scandal.
The only remaining NHS hospital in England for people with learning disabilities is to be shut under a £45m plan to drive through modernisation of services following the Winterbourne View scandal.
Calderstones hospital near Clitheroe, Lancashire, will close along with up to half the 2,600 hospital beds in the NHS and private sectors that are being used for learning disabled people. The beds will be replaced by supported housing schemes.
The plan, set out in a joint report by NHS England and council leaders, is being welcomed by learning disability charities and campaigners after more than four years of failure to deliver on promises of reform made after disclosure of abuse of patients at the former Winterbourne View private hospital, near Bristol.
The BBC’s Panoroma programme revealed the neglect and abuse of patients by staff at Winterbourne View, in Hambrook, south Gloucestershire, in 2011. Six people were jailed in 2012 and five were given suspended sentences.
The scandal illustrated the long-term detention of hundreds of patients with behaviour considered too challenging for them to live in the community.
But there are fears the latest move, while being welcomed by campaigners, may be another false dawn.
“Families will be fearful of the fact that there is little in the new report about how local areas can be compelled to make the necessary changes to support services and guard against a postcode lottery of poor care,” the charities Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation said.
Calderstones, which has 223 beds, is seen as symbolic of the NHS’s reluctance to abandon entirely the institutional model of care and support for learning disabled people. An inspection of the hospital last year found “serious deficiencies” in its quality of care, including excessive use of face-down restraint and seclusion of patients.
Under the new plan, the Calderstones Partnership NHS foundation trust will be taken over next July by the Merseycare NHS trust and the hospital’s beds will be run down, with only 40% replaced in other secure units for patients who have committed serious offences or who are otherwise deemed unable to live in the community.
A further 1,000 beds in so-called “assessment and treatment” (A&T) units in the NHS and private sectors will also be decommissioned over three years as alternative services are developed. Key to the plan will be the transfer of NHS money to councils in “dowries” for people who have been in the units for more than five years.
Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: “As good and as necessary as some in-patient care can be, people with learning disabilities are clear they want to live in homes, not hospitals. (…)