NHS residential campuses for people with learning disabilities, often built on the sites of old long-stay hospitals, merely substituted one kind of institutional care for another.
Since the long-stay closures were an overdue recognition that people were being detained for no good reason, it seems particularly perverse that the hospitals were effectively replaced with more of the same.
Now the campuses have quite rightly been earmarked for closure too. Yet it seems that the Department of Health hasn’t the foggiest idea exactly how many people there are in the campuses.
If more come out than can be independently housed in the community, they will end up in yet another institution. And that will be third time very unlucky.
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This article appeared in the 14 June issue under the headline “A test of patient patience”