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Winterbourne View scandal: families write open letter to PM

6 people were jailed for ill-treatment and neglect at a private hospital near Bristol Photo: ITV West Country

It's been five years since the abuse and neglect of patients at Winterbourne View hospital near Bristol was discovered.

An undercover documentary revealed that members of staff at the hospital - which was supposed to provide care for vulnerable adults - were mistreating patients in their care.

11 people admitted to ill-treating or neglecting patients.

11 care workers admitted a total of 38 charges Credit: ITV West Country

A recent report revealed that some 3,500 vulnerable people with learning disabilities are still languishing at inpatient units despite a Government pledge to close them in the wake of the Winterbourne View scandal.

Now families have written an open letter expressing their anger:

Dear Prime Minister,

We the families of people abused at Winterbourne View hospital write to express our anger at the lack of change five years on from the day that Panorama exposed what happened to our loved ones.

Despite clear commitments and plans from Government and the NHS, today, around 3,500 people, including over 160 children, are still stuck in places like Winterbourne View; often hundreds of miles from home, and at risk of abuse.

Lives have even been lost.

The rate of change has been painfully slow, and people with a learning disability and their families continue to suffer as a result.

Government and the NHS must end this outdated model of hospital care and tackle the inappropriate use of restraint, seclusion and anti-psychotic medication, which is devastating lives.

It was the second report with recommendations made following the scandal Credit: ITV West Country

The letter to the Prime Minister has been signed by Steve Sollars, Ann Earley, Wendy Fiander and Claire and Emma Garrod, whose family members were all residents at Winterbourne View.

Meanwhile, the Learning Disability Census 2015 revealed that:

72%
had received antipsychotic medication... BUT only...
28.5%
were recorded as having a psychotic disorder.
4.9yrs
is the average stay in an institution.
670
people are more than 100km/62miles from home.

An NHS spokeswoman said:

"We have seen significant increases in the numbers of people both being discharged from hospital and having their care and treatment reviewed in the last year.

"We know, however, that progress up to now hasn't been quick enough and we sympathise with the frustrations expressed.

"The real difference will be made over the coming months and years as local areas implement their response to the far-reaching plans set out by NHS England and its national partners, ensuring that the housing, care and advocacy services become available in each community to provide the high-quality alternatives to hospital people and their families want and need."