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Learning disability services 'regularly neglected'

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People with learning disabilities are not always having their human rights upheld and are generally receiving poor care, the first ever audit of services in England has revealed.

During its investigation of 89 NHS and private organisations, the Healthcare Commission was forced to refer six services, being run by five different bodies, to local councils under the Protection for Vulnerable Adults scheme because of concerns about care.

The HCC admitted in its report that it could not guarantee human rights of individuals within services generally were being upheld.

Both staffing levels and training of staff also raised concern with the watchdog. The HCC found that around a third of staff employed by organisations were agency or bank staff and there were very high sickness and vacancy rates, with an average vacancy rate of 10% over all services.

HCC chief executive Anna Walker said the report painted a bleak picture of generally poor services. ‘These services are regularly neglected and too often old-fashioned and institutional,’ she added.

The watchdog made more than 2500 recommendations to improve aspects of care at the organisations investigated, as well as calling for sweeping changes to the way services are commissioned and delivered.

It plans a series of spot checks on services to ensure improvements are made.

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