21st century asylums

Star rating: 3/5.

St Luke’s Hospital Group
ISBN 0954644549

The introduction by the chief executive officer, medical and
clinical directors of St Luke’s to these essays concludes:
“It is abundantly clear that the decision to close the long-stay
institutions had the unforeseen consequence of leaving a shortfall
in specialist provision, and it is now time to address this.” That
may be true but despite its arresting title this book does not get
us very far, writes James Churchill.

It is an interesting collection of essays – historical,
personal, legal and philosophical – about the current post-Valuing
People policy flux. A parent of two autistic sons and a survivor of
mental health services give their individual take on where services
for the future should be headed. Lord Rix muses on the issue of
quality. Genevra Richardson concludes that using compulsory powers
outside hospitals is acceptable – with conditions attached. Gregory
O’Brien ponders the future of specialist mental health
services for people with learning disabilities, rejecting a return
to long-stay hospital care but allowing that specialist facilities
will still be needed. The book is not “Essays about low secure
hospitals in the field of learning disabilities” (as stated on the
cover) but it is still a thought-provoking mix of views.

James Churchill is chief executive of the Association of
Residential Care.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.