At least 10,000 extra staff will need to be recruited and trained if plans to move people with learning disabilities from institutions to community-based care are to succeed.
This is one of the key findings of Sir Stephen Bubb, head of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, in his follow-up report on plans to reform support for this vulnerable group.
“I am still shocked by the way we as a society have condoned poor or abusive treatment”
The closure of institutions and ramping up of community provision was one of the main recommendations from Sir Stephen’s original investigation into abuses at the Winterbourne View care home.
NHS England has committed to making this happen through the Transforming Care programme, with a target if halving the number of inpatient beds by 2019.
But in his report, published today, Sir Stephen warned that the task of reforming services was much more challenging than first thought.
In order to ensure key changes actually happen, he has called for the creation of the new role of Learning Disabilities Commissioner.
The report also suggested 10,000 extra members of staff will be needed to support people in the community and these staff will need to be properly trained and equipped for the task.
Sir Stephen Bubb
The report details the progress made since the publication of Winterbourne View – Time for Change just over a year ago.
Based on extensive consultation with people with learning disabilities, relatives and carers and service providers, it emphasises the need for more work to prevent people ending up in hospital.
It also highlighted the need for more supported housing and says housing for people with learning disabilities should be exempt from proposed Housing Benefit caps.
Sir Stephen said: “I have spoken directly to people whose experience of these services goes back far beyond 2011 and Winterbourne View.
“So this report expresses the views and experiences of the people most affected by change. I am still shocked by the way we as a society have condoned poor or abusive treatment of some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” he said.
“As recent revelations from Southern Health Trust have shown there’s still a long way to go before the system can be trusted, and we still have a long way to go in convincing people with learning disabilities that change will happen,” said Sir Stephen.
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But he added: “I’m confident the base for change is now there. My further report makes proposals to ensure such change happens. ”