The Dispatches documentary prompted organisations representing the sector – including CMG, Voyage Care, United Response, Lifeways, The Wilf Ward Family Trust, Mencap, Choice Care Group, the Voluntary Organisations Disabilities Group (VODG), ARC England, Encompass (Dorset), Homes Caring for Autism, 7Days of Action Steering Group, Bringing Us Together and Dimensions – to deliver a unified response to the footage of services at St Andrew’s Healthcare.
Peter Kinsey, Chief Executive of CMG said:
“I was shocked and appalled and felt physically sick when I watched the documentary.
“It is inappropriate for so many people with learning disabilities to be living in large hospitals where it is very difficult to provide personalised support. As we have seen all too often, the standards of care in hospital can be extremely poor and unacceptable in a modern society.”
“However, this documentary also clearly shows that people with learning disabilities who have complex needs can live successfully in the community, with the right support.”
Tim Cooper, Chief Executive of United Response said:
“This terrible footage is immensely worrying to providers in the learning disability sector that provide quality services at a high intensity to some of the most vulnerable people in the country.
“There are still far too many people living in institutions and inpatient settings that do not benefit from small-scale personalised social care services delivered in the community. We want individuals to exercise more independence and control over their own lives.
“The Government set out the right direction of travel with its Transforming Care Services policy initiative; however that agenda must now be turned into a reality through giving people access to sufficiently funded community based services.”
Professor Martin Green OBE Chief Executive for Care England said:
“Community settings will be social care registered services, but we are clear that this is a sector under immense financial strain. In order to meet the demand for personalised care for people with complex learning disabilities in the community, and which allows a safe transfer from hospital settings to be achieved, then we must address urgently the crisis facing social care due to chronic underfunding over many years. Learning disability services are closing at an alarming rate and providers are reluctantly handing back contracts to local authorities. The situation is exacerbated by a lack of funding to meet the rising cost of paying staff for sleep in services at night time to provide essential back up in order to keep people safe.”
Care England wants to see the upcoming budget put social care funding on a proper safe footing and ensure that providers continue to provide and develop services in the community for people with learning disabilities.