Comment: Left on the wayside

A bypass generally has positive connotations: a heart bypass to cure a medical condition or a road bypass to stop traffic running through a village, say. But sometimes there are negative implications.

One of the first priorities for co-national director for learning disabilities Nicola Smith is to move about 3,000 people with learning difficulties from NHS residential care campuses into the community. However, some of these NHS units are now being run by independent providers and so residents are no longer classed as patients. This means they do not fall within the government drive to move them into the community, even though the campuses are still owned by the NHS.

The independent providers themselves are saying that these campuses are inappropriate settings for their clients; when one took over the running of a campus it found 32 people living in shared bedrooms. Despite their protestations, they are getting little help from the Department of Health to move residents into supported living. Instead of bypassing these users, the DH should be helping them all on the same road to genuine supported living.

Additional information
Residents ‘trapped’ in former NHS units denied move into community

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