Inpatients with a learning disability or autism to have their cases reviewed

All 2,250 patients with learning disabilities and autism who are inpatients in a mental health hospital will have their care reviewed over the next 12 months, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced.

As part of the review, each patient will be provided with a date for discharge, or where this is not appropriate, an explanation of why and a plan to move them close towards being ready for discharge into the community. The Department has committed to discharging 400 inpatients by the end of March 2020.

But for those in long-term segregation, an independent panel will be established. It will be chaired by Baroness Sheila Hollins who will oversee their case reviews and support them to be discharged back into the community.

This follows the recommendations made in the CQC’s interim report on segregation in mental health wards for children and young people and in wards for people with a learning disability or autism. 

A further measure will see the publication of data on inpatients in mental health settings who have a learning disability or autism so areas can learn and share good practice.

In addition, every NHS and social care worker will receive mandatory training backed by £1.4 m of government funding with a focus on:

  • Understanding learning disability and autism
  • Legislation and rights
  • Making reasonable adjustments such as communication method for autistic people with sensory sensitivities

These measures are a welcome step in ensuring that mental health has parity with physical health and that the needs of the vulnerable are listened to and receive high quality care.

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