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  1. ITV Report

'Immediate action needed to improve learning disability care'

Video report by ITV News' Paul Davies

A report into the care of people with learning disabilities has called for "immediate action" to protect patients.

The report entitled Winterbourne View - Time for Change comes after a care home in Bristol was found to have seriously abused patients.

Six workers were jailed for ill-treatment and neglect following undercover filming by the BBC's Panorama programme.

Sir Stephen Bubb's report found that more people were being admitted to hospital than were being discharged - despite a Government pledge to move more patients with learning difficulties into community care by June of this year.

He suggested patients were spending too long in hospital because of failures in providing adequate community support.

Sir Stephen said the Winterbourne View scandal in 2011 had "shocked the nation" and action was now needed to put people with learning disabilities first.

He has made a series of recommendations including calls for the creation of a "charter of rights" for people with learning disabilities and their families.

Other recommendations include:

  • Giving patients and their families the power to challenge decisions and the right to request a personal care budget
  • Training for NHS staff and local authorities
  • Closure of "inappropriate" patient facilities
  • Requirement for local authorities to follow a mandatory framework that sets out who is responsible for which services and how they will be held to account
  • Creation of a social investment fund to increase capacity of community-based services

Sir Stephen, chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, said: "People are still angry and frustrated that more people with learning disabilities are being placed in institutional care than moved into the community.

"We urge immediate action, to close all Winterbourne-style institutions and ramp up community provision.

"We need a new charter of rights to empower people with learning disabilities and their families, and give them the right to challenge the system.

"We need that system to have the courage to act on these recommendations, and not to promise another false dawn.

"The time for talk is over. It's time for people with learning disabilities or autism and their families to be put first."

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb welcomed the report, saying it made clear that radical changes were needed to prevent "the horrors of Winterbourne View" happening again.

Liz Kendall, Labour's shadow care minister, said the missed deadline was a "total disgrace" and warned that the review "risks gathering dust alongside all the others".