Editorial Comment: Shift the onus to councils

The Healthcare Commission’s verdict is damning: staff in NHS in-patient services for people with learning disabilities show little understanding of human rights. They are committed to their jobs, but they are hamstrung by poor leadership, inadequate training and a lack of clear objectives to guide them.

Given the health service’s history in this field – last year’s highly critical report on Cornwall is just an extreme example of the same tendency – these latest findings were unsurprising.

People with learning disabilities are still too often “warehoused” rather than supported to live as independently as possible. Local authorities have a much better, if flawed, record. The new Valuing People’s push to give them more responsibility for services is welcome.

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Mark Ivory

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