Care England has called on the Government to scrap a cap on care home learning disability places that it says is leaving thousands of vulnerable people in appropriate settings.
The representative body said an ‘arbitrary limit’ of six places for adults with learning difficulties or autism in a care home had left more than 2,000 adults needing specialist accommodation languishing in hospital or inappropriate assessment centres.
Chief Executive of Care England, Professor Martin Green OBE (pictured) said: “How can it be right that 2,000 of the most vulnerable people in our society are being left to rot in totally unsuitable institutions, simply because of petty, inflexible red tape.
“Care homes are ready and willing to provide specialised and suitable accommodation but are prevented from doing so by this crazy ‘six only’ rule. It’s nothing short of betrayal.
“Thousands of adults with autism or learning disabilities are in unsuitable hospitals or assessment centres – often many miles from their families – when they could be in specialist units close to their homes and loved ones.”
Martin called on Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, to “get a grip on his department” and sort the problem out.
The Care England CEO said the failure of the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) Transforming Care programme to close 30-50% of inpatient beds for those with learning disabilities and/or autism by March 2019 was largely down to the CQC’s limit on the number on the number of rooms in a learning disability home.
A DHSC spokesperson said: “We are determined to reduce the number of people with learning disabilities and autism in mental health hospitals.
“Significant investment in community support has already led to a 24% reduction in inpatients. The NHS will go further to reduce inpatient numbers by 35% backed by Long Term Plan investment in specialist services and community crisis care in every local area.”
Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Kate Terroni, said the CQC was focussed on ensuring people receive “high quality, person centred care”. Kate said the limit of six persons was not a “rigid rule”, adding providers could accommodate more people if they could demonstrate they followed all the principles and values in NHS England’s Building the right support guidance.
The chief inspector said the CQC shared Care England’s concerns about the Government failure to meets its Transforming Care targets and had highlighted the plight of learning disability living long distances from their homes in its State of Care report. The CQC also called for more consistent community care for people with learning disabilities.
You can find the CQC’s guidance for providers supporting people with learning disabilities and/or autism, by clicking here.