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CNO unveils plan to cut number of people with learning disabilities in inpatient units

England's Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings told an RCNi conference about plans for more people with learning disabilities to be cared for in the community

A plan to cut the number of people with learning disabilities who are in inappropriate inpatient settings is being developed by NHS England.

The blueprint will see inpatient beds closed and community-based alternatives opened in their place.

Chief Nursing Officer for England Jane Cummings made the announcement at RCNi's learning disability conference in Manchester today.

Ms Cummings told delegates a national framework outlining the plans, developed in the wake of the Winterbourne View scandal, would be unveiled around the end of October.

'The national transformation plan will focus on how to reduce the number of beds for people with learning disabilities,' she said.

'We are planning and enabling the discharge of inpatients and looking at how we can implement services that can deal with crisis, 24-7, in the community.

'We want to make sure people are cared for in a place they call home, which meets their needs and is near to their families.'

RCNi understands that this will involve clinical commissioning groups being given a mandate to reduce the number of inpatients and new admissions to assessment and treatment units for people with a learning disability. NHS England figures show that more than 2,000 people are currently in these units and not all need to be there.

Work is also under way on medication management and reducing the prescribing of antipsychotic drugs to people with a learning disability, Ms Cummings added.

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