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

NHS “highly unlikely” to meet deferred Transforming Care Targets

At least 2,185 people with a learning disability and/ or an autism diagnosis are living in hospital settings, according to the latest data released from NHS Digital, which means the NHS is highlight unlikely to meet its Transforming Care targets.

A minimum of 230 children are living in clinical environments. A high number of people with a learning disability and/or autism are being admitted to hospitals: 95 people were admitted in December alone. 135 people remained in hospital when they are ready for discharge, say the learning disability charity Mencap.

A high number of uses of restrictive inventions (3,245 in one month), have been reported, of which 910 were against children.

Data has only been collected from three out of 18 private/independent providers and 23 out of 56 NHS providers, meaning total numbers may be much higher.

The average total length of stay in in-patient units remains at 5.4 years, according to an analysis by Mencap.

NHS Digital say the next release of the ‘health and care of people with learning disabilities’ data publication will include changes to the code clusters used to identify patients with a learning disability.

In addition, new data will be collected to monitor the prescription of antipsychotic medication to patients with a learning disability in order to support the NHS STOMP (stopping over medication of people with a learning disability, autism or both) campaign.

NHS Digital says a small number of indicators that are “now redundant” are “also being retired from the next collection”. Learning Disability Today has approached NHS Digital to request further clarification.

Response to missing Transforming Care targets

“Today’s data shows a worrying loss of momentum with a net reduction of just five people with a learning disability and/or autism coming out of inpatient units this month,” said Dan Scorer, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the learning disability charity Mencap.

“A reduction like this is an indication that NHSE is highly unlikely to meet its own target of a 35 percent decrease by March 2020, which itself is a deferred commitment from March last year.”

“Today’s figures offer little evidence that the right community support is being developed.”

“The small changes in the numbers of admissions and delayed discharges result from a lack of suitable housing and social care.”

“We urgently need to see departments across government working together to develop the right support in local areas – carers with the right skills, suitable housing and healthcare professionals with the expertise and capacity to support people, their families and carers – so that people who’ve been locked away for years, in these ‘modern day asylums’, miles from home, can finally be discharged and receive the care and support they deserve close to their loved ones.”

Vivien Cooper OBE, CEO of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, said: “The data provides little evidence of the transformation of care that has been promised for so long.”

“Each number represents a person, and when this is combined with the woefully incomplete data about the use of restrictive interventions it highlights what those individuals are experiencing.”

“Numerous reports have been published, including recent CQC reports about large, profit making providers who deliver poor quality services funded from the public purse.”

“These provide further compelling evidence of the need for change. It is time the Government showed real leadership and actually addressed the root causes of the systemic failures so that children and adults with learning disabilities and their families get the right support in the right place at the right time.”

A Department of Health and Social Care Spokesperson said: “People with learning disabilities should have the same standard of health care as everybody else, yet they often face poorer health outcomes and shorter life-spans.”

“To increase transparency, we have asked NHS England to routinely publish local performance data on the services for people with learning disabilities.”

“We are also taking action to address recommendations set out in the third Learning Disabilities Mortality Review and will be publish our formal response in the coming weeks.”

NHS England has been approached for comment on Transforming Care targets.

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