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Thousands of trained learning disability carers needed


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”

Stephen Bubb

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

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.

But he added: “I’m confident the base for change is now there. My further report makes proposals to ensure such change happens. ”


Readers' comments (5)

  • And this is news how? It's been clear to anyone working in LD services that mass closure of hospital beds (which is not per se a bad thing) will require an increase in community staffing levels - both in social care and health services, but where these staff are going to come from plus the money to train and adequately support them remains to be seen.

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  • Very historical are the subjects discussed here. The work of the late Professor Jim Mansell and Valuing People cover points raised in this article. I feel personally that it is not acceptable ten years later that there is little progress for individuals with a learning disability. At present they have not been delivered what has been stated on past agendas. The increase of posts for RNLD could help as they are more than adequately trained to champion the cause.

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  • As someone who works with people with learning disabilities and is currently witnessing peoples care packages being decreased,what does Stephen Bubb propose to find the extra funding when there is already increased shortages occurring. The previous comment regarding RNLD are equipped to do the job,not with all the paperwork they are bogged down with.

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  • The subject goes further back than Valuing People.We don't seem to have moved very far in the last 30 or 40 years. And poor,neglectful and abusive care can and does happen in the community.

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  • Am I right in thinking that training of LD Nurses was suspended for a while (which says it all) and the impression seemed to be that social services, local councils (and ultimately the private sector 'care' companies) would be picking up the care for a group of historically marginalised,vulnerable and poorly understood client took till 2005 to get the Mental Capacity Act after all.....

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