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Gov takes action on Winterbourne incident

The government on Monday published its final report into the events at Winterbourne View Hospital, which has come after findings of severe abuse of patients at the privately run hospital near Bristol.

The final report into the events at Winterbourne View Hospital states that staff routinely mistreated and abused patients, and management allowed a culture of abuse to flourish. The warning signs were not picked up, and concerns raised by a whistleblower went unheeded.

The report also reveals weaknesses in the system’s ability to hold the leaders of care organisations to account. In addition, it finds that many people are in hospital who don’t need to be. People with learning disabilities or autism, who also have mental health conditions or challenging behaviour can be, and have a right to be, given the support and care they need in the community, near to family and friends.

In its response, the government has set out a programme of action to transform services so that vulnerable people no longer live inappropriately in hospitals and are cared for in line with best practice.

Amongst the goals set by the government are:

By spring 2013, the department will set out proposals to strengthen accountability of boards of directors and senior managers for the safety and quality of care which their organisations provide; By June 2013, all current placements will be reviewed, everyone in hospital inappropriately will move to community-based support as quickly as possible, and no later than June 2014; By April 2014, each area will have a joint plan to ensure high quality care and support services for all people with learning disabilities or autism and mental health conditions or behaviour described as challenging, in line with best practice; As a consequence, there will be a dramatic reduction in hospital placements for this group of people; The Care Quality Commission will strengthen inspections and regulation of hospitals and care homes for this group of people, including unannounced inspections involving people who use services and their families; A new NHS and local government-led joint improvement team will be created to lead and support this transformation;

This programme is backed by a concordat signed by more than 50 partners, setting out what changes they will deliver and by when. The government will publish a progress report on these actions by December 2013.