In 2011, the BBC’s Panorama programme exposed the abuse of patients at Winterbourne View, an independent hospital for people with learning disabilities and/or autism. Further inspections by the CQC of 150 hospitals and care homes for people with a learning disability found inadequate practice in some services, included poor person-centred care, limited appropriate activities and a lack of monitoring and learning from incidents of restraint.

The Department of Health’s national policy response, Transforming care: A National response to Winterbourne View Hospital (December 2012) stated that “hospitals are not where people should live” and pledged that everyone inappropriately in hospital will move to community-based support as quickly as possible, and no later than 1 June 2014.

Supporting his application for this debate in the Backbench Business Committee, Norman Lamb MP said:

It was an ambitious programme, with the aim of getting a significant proportion of people out of institutional care. The truth is that the programme’s progress has been much less positive and successful than we had hoped. Large numbers of people remain locked up behind closed doors.


The programme has been subject to some significant criticism from the National Audit Office and the Care Quality Commission. It will end in less than a year, and there is no plan at present to extend it. Many people fear that it will end without its ambition being realised. This is a group of people who are often ignored or neglected. They are treated too often as second-class citizens. I don’t think we spend enough time in Parliament thinking and talking about their interests and concerns.

Some reviews of the Transforming Care programme can be read here:

Section 2.2 of the Library briefing paper Learning Disability – policies and issues outlines the history of the Transforming Care programme. The paper also provides useful background on other support and services available for people with learning disabilities.

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