Closure of England’s last stand-alone NHS learning disability hospital, the Mersey Care Whalley, will move care for people with learning disabilities more towards independent community living, says NHS England. 

Plans are to be finalised to set out how local NHS care leader can help people with learning disabilities and autism to have a greater choice in the kind of care they receive and to be able to live in the community closer to their family and friends. 

The Winterbourne View Time For Change Report called for the closure of Mersey Care Whalley Hospital, formerly called Calderstones hospital. 

Care is to be provided through teams in the community with a few smaller inpatient units located across the North West.  

Dr Michael Gregory, Regional Clinical Director for NHS England  in the North, said: “These plans represent a real step forward in terms of how we support people in the North West who have a learning disability, autism or both, and their families, in the future.

“For too long we have been too reliant on institutional in-patient care, often for unnecessarily long periods of time.”

Margaret Kitching, Regional Chief Nurse for the North, added: “Now is the time for us to work closely with staff and the people who use these services to build the kind of services we all want to see across the region over the next three years and beyond.”