The latest part of the 7 Days of Action campaign has launched, which aims to highlight the human stories behind the statistics of people with learning disabilities and/or autism stuck in assessment and treatment units (ATUs). 

About 3,000 people with learning disabilities and/or autism are in hospital for the purposes of assessment, care and treatment. 

In March, the first 7 Days of Action took place to raise awareness about the human stories behind these numbers. Seven families published 7 stories about their family members on the campaign’s blog site.

This latest part of the campaign, which again will focus on a different story or stories every day in the week, has started with an update on what has happened to some of the people who were featured in the original campaign since then. The stories have been written by their mothers, and paint a varying picture of progress.

To support the second 7 Days of Action, the Centre for Disability Research (CeDR) has published a briefing paper that summarises what is known about ATU provision and demonstrates how practice fails to meet the Mental Health Act Code of Practice Guiding Principles.

For instance, 83% of people in ATUs are subject to the Mental Health Act. The MHA Code of Practice Guiding Principles state this should be for the shortest time necessary.

In addition, in July, 32% of people in ATUs did not need inpatient care, according to their care plan. Also, 48% were subject to medical treatment without consent as defined by Section 58 of the Mental Health Act (1983).

To read the first post from the latest 7 Days of Action campaign, click here.

To view the CeDR briefing, click here.


James E, Neary M & Hatton C (2016) Report of the First 7 Days of Action CeDR Briefing Paper 2016:1. Lancaster: Centre for Disability Research.