NHS England announces £100 million funding for post-Winterbourne services

Funding announced to make Tranforming Care discharge plans a reality

NHS England has allocated £100 million in capital funding to the 48 Transforming Care Partnerships that are responsible for discharging people with learning disabilities and/or autism from hospital-type care.

NHS England expects the funding to enable more people with learning disabilities and/or autism to live in homely setting close to their families. Picture: Photofusion

The money is the latest step introducing reforms set out in ‘Building the right support: A national implementation plan to develop community services and close inpatient facilities’, which was published in October 2015 in response to the 2011 Winterbourne View scandal.

The funding, which includes £30 million that has already been allocated, will be used over five years to fund local schemes, including the building of new housing and the provision of services.

The RCN welcomed the additional funding, but said it will make little difference if the nursing workforce is not in place to implement them.

Community services

RCN professional lead for learning disabilities Ann Norman said: ‘An RCN report found that five years on from Winterbourne View, learning disability patients are still being held needlessly in hospital due to a lack of community services to meet their needs.

‘The NHS has delivered a well thought strategy to help solve this problem. However there remain questions over how an understaffed workforce will fulfil these plans. Since 2010, the learning disability nursing workforce has been cut by a third – and numbers continue to fall.

‘The future looks no brighter, with fewer learning disability nursing students in training than ever before.’

Engaging with families

Chief nursing officer for England and chair of the Transforming Care Delivery Board Jane Cummings admitted that getting people into more homely accommodation close to the families will not be easy, but added: ‘It is extremely encouraging to see how local NHS organisations and councils have taken up the mantle, built on existing good practice and engaged with families and organisations in their areas to develop their own innovative plans.’

Examples of how the money is being spent include:

  • Funding a Community Crisis Intervention Team offering personalised home support in North Central London.
  • Enhancing existing outreach teams to offer seven day week services in Leicestershire.
  • Creating a new service to support people whose behaviour brings them to the attention of the police or criminal justice system in Kent and Medway.

Latest figures from NHS England show that there were 2,530 people in inpatient settings in June 2016, 10% fewer than in March 2015, but 24,000 people who have a learning disability and/or autism are classed as being at risk of admission.

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