The treatment of all people with learning disabilities receiving inpatient care is to be reviewed, ahead of a drive to rapidly reduce hospital placements and increase community provision.
The plans are set out in the final draft version of a concordat drawn up in the wake of the Winterbourne View scandal.
Signatories to the document include the NHS Commissioning Board, the Department of Health, the Care Quality Commission and the English Community Care Association.
A “programme for change” agreed by the signatories says health and care commissioners will review the care of each individual in inpatient care for learning disabilities and draw up a personal care plan.
Commissioners should then “put these plans into action as soon as possible, so that all individuals receive personalised care and support in appropriate community settings no later than 1 June, 2014”.
“These actions are expected to lead to a rapid reduction in hospital placements for this group of people,” the concordat says. “People should not live in hospital for long periods of time. Hospitals are not homes.”
In order to safeguard the dignity and rights of people with learning disabilities, the signatories pledge to develop “personalised, local, high quality services” while closing “large-scale inpatient services”.
Every area should also put in place a joint plan for care and support services for people with challenging behaviour so a “new generation of inpatients does not take the place of people currently in hospital”.
Beverley Dawkins, policy manager at Mencap, said: “The concordat includes many actions which should result in the significant reform of support and services for the most vulnerable people.”