Providers need to have ‘the right places’ in the community for people with learning disabilities

The head of the RCN's learning disability nursing forum Simon Jones is concerned that healthcare professionals are starting to question the point of care and treatment reviews for people with learning disabilities if they do not lead to care shifting into the community.
Care treatment review

Healthcare professionals are questioning the point of care and treatment reviews (CTR) for people with learning disabilities if they do not lead to care moving into the community, according to the head of a RCN forum. 

Obstacles remain when it comes to sourcing suitable accommodation for people with learning disabilities. Photo: Tim George

The chair of the RCN’s learning disability nursing forum, Simon Jones, said people are being identified by the CTR process as being ready to move from mental health hospitals to their own homes or community support.

But, he said, a barrier remains in finding somewhere suitable for them to live.   

Shifting care

The National Audit Office (NAO) this month published a report assessing the progress of the Department of Health, NHS England and partners in shifting care from mental health hospitals to the community more quickly through the Transforming Care programme.

The NAO said CTRs are a key tool in identifying people with learning disabilities in mental health hospitals who can be cared for in the community. 

But it added the reviews are not taking place as needed. 


By December 2016, only 39% of people in mental health hospitals had had a review in the last six months, which is required by NHS England policy. 

Regarding CTRs, Mr Jones, head of behavioural support and a nurse consultant at Lifeways, said: ‘I have no scientific evidence for this, but people are beginning to think, “What’s the point?”. That is my worry.’

He said providers must focus on having the right places ready for people to live in.

Learning disability nurse Jonathan Beebee, the chief enablement officer for PBS, a social enterprise which supports people with learning disabilities, said: ‘Before the CTRs, progress was very slow. 

Prevent unnecessary admissions

‘They have started to make a real difference.’

A DH spokesperson said: ‘We are providing £25 million to councils across the country to help people with learning disabilities live more independently, helping prevent unnecessary admissions.’

Further information

NAO report on local support for people with a learning disability

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