Winterbourne plan boosted by trebling in number of learning disabled people due to leave hospital

Most service users placed in hospitals now have date to move into community placement, boosting policy to end inappropriate placements, reveals NHS England figures

Photo: OJO Images/Rex Features

The number of learning disabled people due to move out of hospital placements into the community has trebled providing a long-awaited boost to the government’s Winterbourne View programme.

Of the 2600 people placed in hospitals, 1680 had a date to move into a community placement as of 30 September, up from 577 at the end of June, NHS England figures have revealed.

Of these 922 were due to move within a year, up from 417 in June. Of the 920 without a transfer date, 691 had been deemed to have a clinical reason for remaining in hospital, down from 1,614 in June.

The figures provide a belated boost to the government’s programme to end inappropriate hospital placements for people with learning disabilities or autism and additional mental health needs, launched in response to the Winterbourne View scandal. Such placements had been due to end by 1 June 2014, a target that was widely missed.

The data also revealed a slight increase in the number of people who had a professional co-ordinating their care, which rose from 2,505 to 2,562. NHS England said this meant people’s care was being proactively managed and tailored to their needs.

Less positively, more patients – 404 – were admitted to hospital in the three months to 30 September than were discharged (323).

Most of the people concerned (54%) are placed in secure beds, with the rest in a mixture of acute admission, rehabilitation, continuing care or specialist beds.

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