Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Hundreds gather for ‘Homes not Hospitals’ protest in Wales

Learning disability organisations and campaigners in Wales joined forces today calling for the release of people with a learning disability and/or autistic people from secure hospital settings in Wales.

The Homes Not Hospitals protest was organised by Stolen Lives, a group of families and carers and took place outside the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. It has also been endorsed by organisations such as Leaning Disability Wales, Mencap, Rightful Lives and the Paul Ridd Foundation.

The campaign is asking the Welsh Government to gather accurate data on the number of people with a learning disability placed in hospital settings such as mental health or assessment and treatment units. It also wants comprehensive data on the number of people with a learning disability living in Wales to enable improved service provision and planning.

This is because people with a learning disability are often being placed in mental health units because the services they need are not available in their local communities.

Despite learning disability not being a mental health issue, in 2020, just before the pandemic hit, the Welsh Government’s National Care Review highlighted that 166 people with a learning disability were having their care in hospital settings. The report made 70 recommendations, one of which states clearly that people should only stay in hospitals if there are no other ways to treat them safely.

Care and support should be delivered at home

Zoe Richards, Chief Executive of Learning Disability Wales, said: “It is totally unacceptable that people with a learning disability are living in hospital settings when their care and support should be delivered at home in their local communities. People with a learning disability are being institutionalised, despite the fact that over 40 years ago Wales was one of the first countries in the world to publish a strategy to move people out of institutions. We are fully supporting the Stolen Lives campaign and Learning Disability Wales will be joining the Homes Not Hospitals protest to raise awareness and press the Welsh Government to act.”


The campaigners also want the Welsh Government to address how they are going to bring children and young people back closer to home and work together with organisations of people with learning difficulties and/or autism as well as family members to produce better support.

A parent whose son had previously been sectioned added: “If we continue to allow this injustice to happen then we are not a civilised country. We can’t continue to hurt the weakest in society and waste public money doing it and families and organisations who wish to care for our autistic and learning disabled people are calling on Welsh Government to do what it can to address the issue and release people from horrendous cruelties. It is necessary to protect others from being caught up in a dreadful system.”

You can sign up to support the campaign here: Homes Not Hospitals by Stolen Lives


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