A new resource to support Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs) make full use of their leadership role in creating personalised, local community-based support for individuals and their families has been published by the NHS Confederation.
Developed in partnership with the Local Government Association (LGA), NHS England, Regional Voices, and grant-funded by the Department of Health, Health and wellbeing boards: leading local response to Winterbourne View aims to help HWBs successfully approach and tackle issues raised by the abuse and failings at Winterbourne View in 2011.
The resource offers practical information to help HWBs lead work to help deliver a sizeable and permanent reduction in the numbers of local people who are inpatients in secure hospitals or assessment and treatment settings. The Government’s response to the Winterbourne View Review, published in December 2012, included a commitment to “end all inappropriate placements by 2014”.
Among the practical ideas included in the resource is a series of questions for HWB members to consider, which cover discharge plans for all vulnerable individuals; the scale of local and out-of-area hospital placements for vulnerable people; the effectiveness of local partnership working to meet the needs of vulnerable people, now and in the future; and the presence of strong, suitable safeguarding processes and procedures which are used appropriately.
The publication also signposts HWBs to further resources which can help support a strong local response, including latest data from NHS England and status reports from each HWB area that identify progress across key issues. It also includes pointers on how HWBs can encourage change in local commissioning behaviour, support engagement with individuals, their families, carers and advocates, and drive forward integrated working across the whole local health and care system.
Rob Webster, NHS Confederation chief executive, said: “What happened at Winterbourne View tells us that we must always safeguard the most vulnerable people in society against wilful abuse, as well as unconscious neglect. This is a given. What we must also do is have the highest aspirations for people with a learning disability, based on improved outcomes and improving care. This practical resource pack will help Health and Wellbeing Boards use their unique position to ensure this is the case. I would urge all Health and Wellbeing Boards to consider this report because, if we get things right for people with a learning disability, we will be able to get them right for everyone.”
Katie Hall, chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“Tackling the challenges raised in response to the Winterbourne scandal require local leaders from health, social care and other local partners to work together. Health and wellbeing boards are ideally placed to ensure this happens effectively and makes a real and positive difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities and behaviours that challenge. This resource offers the sort of practical information and guidance boards need to fulfil this role.”