Learning disabilities: Numbers in NHS campuses down to 1,000

The number of people with learning disabilities living in NHS campus accommodation fell to around 1,000 in October 2008, the government has confirmed.

Plans to close all NHS campuses by 2010 were outlined in the government’s 2006 Our health, our care, our say white paper, following criticism that residents were being denied the freedom and choice offered to those receiving services in the community.

The Department of Health has pledged £175m in capital funding from 2007-10 and £96m in revenue expenditure from 2008-11 to help councils and primary care trusts move people into community-based accommodation by April 2010.

Darzi: Good progress

Health minister Lord Darzi told the House of Lords yesterday that good progress was being made on the closure programme, with the number of campus residents being halved from 2007-8.

In August 2007 there were 2,140 people with learning disabilities living at the residential facilities across England.

NHS campuses are made up of housing units clustered around shared facilities. They were developed to house people with complex needs arising from their learning disability and other conditions who had moved out of NHS long-stay hospitals.

Question marks over community care

Darzi faced questioning from peers about whether people were receiving adequate support when they moved into the community and their care became the responsibility of local authorities.

He stressed that all moves must be based on person-centred plans, but added: “We believe that NHS campuses are no longer appropriate, because they were originally designed for groups and not individuals. These new services will be much more able to respond positively to what people actually want in their day-to-day lives.”

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