Care services minister Norman Lamb has reiterated that the Government plans to improve quality of care for people with learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges improves, ahead of a broadcast tonight that will reveal new safety concerns about some former patients of Winterbourne View.
In a statement to Parliament, Lamb said that the abuse at Winterbourne View was “horrifying”.
11 people were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Friday for their part in abuse at the former private hospital, with 6 receiving custodial terms.
“I hope that these sentences will send a clear message that such criminal behaviour will not be tolerated and that there will be real consequences for the perpetrators,” Lamb said.
“We are continuing to work closely with key stakeholders, including service users and carers, to ensure real improvements in the quality of care, and that people with learning disabilities and behaviour that challenges receive the care they need, and should be supported to live in the community wherever possible.”
This statement was made ahead of tonight’s Panorama on BBC1, which is set to report that 19 former Winterbourne View patients have been issued with safeguarding alerts since they moved to other care homes, according to NHS figures.
Additionally, Panorama has found that at least one former patient has been assaulted and one criminal inquiry is under way. However, it should be noted that just because an alert is raised does not mean someone has been harmed.
Meanwhile, speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Mencap's chief executive, Mark Goldring, called again for a change to services: "When Winterbourne was rightly closed after the scandals last year, many were sent on to other institutions, whereas actually what needs to happen is that people are cared for and supported in smaller facilities, close to their homes where they can be reintegrated into society as quickly as possible."
Lamb said that the Government’s final report of the Winterbourne View review will be published shortly. “Alongside that, we will publish an agreement setting out the responsibilities of government, commissioners, providers, professional bodies and regulators and the timetabled actions that each body commits to deliver.
“We will continue to work with voluntary organisations, people with learning disabilities and their families so that they can hold health and social care bodies to account in making sure we deliver real change.”