Editorial

Time to put things right

‘Homes not hospitals’ was the message coming out of NHS England as the latest policy response to the Winterbourne View scandal was published at the end of October.

‘Homes not hospitals’ was the message coming out of NHS England as the latest policy response to the Winterbourne View scandal was published at the end of October.

The plan is to ensure that people with learning disabilities and autism will be cared for in new, high-quality community-based services. Half of the beds in hospitals and assessment and treatment centres will close, including the 223 at the last remaining learning disability hospital, Calderstones in Lancashire.

It is a great plan that should finally see the end of institutional care, but we have heard similar plans before and, time and again, targets and deadlines have been missed.

The difference this time seems to be that health organisations and local government are in this together to deliver a constructive approach that has been shaped by service users, their families and carers, local commissioners and providers of services, the voluntary

‘Homes not hospitals’ was the message coming out of NHS England as the latest policy response to the Winterbourne View scandal was published at the end of October.

The plan is to ensure that people with learning disabilities and autism will be cared for in new, high-quality community-based services. Half of the beds in hospitals and assessment and treatment centres will close, including the 223 at the last remaining learning disability hospital, Calderstones in Lancashire.

It is a great plan that should finally see the end of institutional care, but we have heard similar plans before and, time and again, targets and deadlines have been missed.

The difference this time seems to be that health organisations and local government are in this together to deliver a constructive approach that has been shaped by service users, their families and carers, local commissioners and providers of services, the voluntary sector and representative groups.

Health organisations and local government are in this together to deliver a constructive approach shaped by service users

The other added ingredient is cash – £45 million over three years that will be used to speed up discharges, especially for those who have been in unsuitable accommodation for the longest time.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens and England’s chief nursing officer Jane Cummings are backing the proposals, with Ms Cummings admitting that ‘society has failed this group of people for decades. Now is the time to put things right’.

I couldn’t agree more.

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