Learning difficulties campaigners have slammed plans unveiled this
week to delay the closure of long-stay hospitals by up to two
The government’s 2001 learning difficulties white paper Valuing
People set a deadline of April 2004 for the closure of all
long-stay hospitals for people with learning difficulties. But this
has now been extended to the end of March 2006.
David Congdon, head of external relations at learning difficulties
charity Mencap, said the charity was “very disappointed” by the
Andrew Lee, director of national learning difficulties organisation
People First, warned that the new deadline would allow “bad
practice” in long-stay hospitals to continue, “which goes against
everything that Valuing People stands for”.
Social care minister Stephen Ladyman said the extended deadline was
essential to ensure people still living in hospitals were found
services and support that best suited their needs.