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

National charity urges all political parties to ‘rise to the challenges’ of Bubb report

Winterbourne ViewA charity that supports people with learning disabilities, has called for political parties and the health and social care sector to meet the challenges set out in Sir Stephen Bubb’s Winterbourne View report – or face seeing them repeat again over the next 50 years.

FitzRoy co-founder John Williams has said he has been facing the same issues raised by the Bubb report for over 50 years since pioneering the model of care employed by FitzRoy.

“We wanted the word home – with a small ‘h’ to really matter. We wanted every disabled person to have the same right as others to go home to a family,” said Williams.

“Progress since the Winterbourne scandal is frustratingly slow and cautious. Despite the outrage when the Winterbourne View abuses came out, individuals are still being removed from the families, communities and everyone who cares about them, sometimes with tragic outcomes.

“All those in power must put greater emphasis on social care and the care of fellow man. The recommendations made in this report have been part and parcel of FitzRoy activities since we began.”

FitzRoy runs 60 locations across England and provides flexible support to more than 600 adults with the support of around 800 staff nationally.

Short term fix to crises
FitzRoy’s research, Plan for Life, carried out with local authorities earlier this year, highlighted that many placements for people with learning disabilities are a short term fix often to a crisis situation, and people remain for many years in inappropriate care settings.

This research also suggests that such care provision costs more in the long run as it leads to breakdowns and increased health issues.

Neil Taggart, FitzRoy’s Operation’s Director added: “Learning disability is not an illness; when people’s primary need is for social, emotional, and practical support, the NHS, and private hospitals, shouldn’t be the place people turn. Whilst the medical model of thinking persists there is always a risk of inappropriate service delivery. It is unacceptable that hospital style care is ever used for anyone with learning disability unless they have an illness.”

“We need to ensure sufficient funding is made available to social care services to avoid corner-cutting provision. Such corner cutting runs the risk of leading to the same type of inappropriate hospital style care. We need to empower people with a learning disability and their families to plan their own care and support and make it possible for them to have choices close to where they want to be. The potential is there we just need the political and financial will to make it happen.”

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