The Department of Health's 14 action points to drive up standards in learning disability residential services have been criticised by leading figures in the sector for not going far enough.
Department of Health released its interim report on the Winterbourne View scandal on Monday. In that report, it set out 14 national actions to improve the care and support of vulnerable people with learning disabilities or autism.
The actions included proposals to encourage care regulator the Care Quality Commission to carry out unannounced inspections at any time, and for the Department of Health to work with the NHS Commissioning Board Authority to agree by how best to embed Quality of Health Principles in the system, using NHS contracting and guidance.
However, learning disability organisations have said the Department of Health's proposals do notgo far enough to ensure that failures in the system, such as those that led to the Winterbourne View scandal last year, are addressed.
"If the Department of Health can't recognise that these are systemic failures then they can't move in the right direction and at the right speed to fix them and, sadly, we will likely be here again at some point in the future," said Ann Chivers, the British Institute of learning Disabilities' (BILD) chief executive.
"The Department of Health's 14 actions lack the strong leadership,vision and drive to lead and set the pace. There are few examples that talk about fixing a system that is clearly broken, and fixing it fast. We would have expected a statement about ending this model of care and a clear new focus on performance and evidence based impact, showing how the 14 actions will make a difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities and their families."
Meanwhile, Rob Greig, chief executive at the National Development Team for Inclusion and the Government's former national directo rfor learning disabilities, said he was "extremely disappointed" by the Department of Health's 14 actions. "The report contains welcome statements about recognising that too many people are inappropriately in assessment and treatment units and how local services need to be improved so the demand of these services doesn't exist," he said. "A number of new pieces of national advice and guidance are proposed but there is an extremely disappointing lack of action that will really help local people to change how they commission and provide services. "
Past progress has been achieved through a combination of clear national targets, active practical support for local change, and robust monitoring. In this report, the national targets and robust monitoring are unclear and the active, practical support for local change is missing."