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Sending learning disabled patients to private hospitals increases risk of abuse

A report from the organisation for NHS managers, NHS Providers, warns that the increasing use of private sector hospitals to look after patients with complex learning disabilities has left patients at risk of abuse and poor quality care.

The report warns that the current system is too fragmented as responsibilities are split between multiple different agencies at both a national and local level. It said this meant services were poorly placed to meet patient needs with problems being exacerbated by what it described as a stigma against learning disabilities coupled with widespread cuts to hospital and community service budgets which meant thousands of patients were forced to stay locked up in institutional care.

There was “clear evidence of historical inequity” in the way services for people with learning disability and autism were commissioned by NHS England, according to NHS Providers, which it said “left these groups of service users disadvantaged in terms of their health and wellbeing, life chances and expectancy, and in extreme cases open to abuse.”

Full story in The Independent, 26 August 2020

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