Learning difficulties care 'must improve'

The Healthcare Commission has called for radical change in the way patients with learning difficulties are cared for in England.

The current standard of care is depriving some people of their human rights and dignity, according to a report published by the watchdog this week.

Insufficient attention is paid to safeguarding vulnerable people across all aspects of their care and many live bleak lives, the report found.

The DoH has responded by promising reform of the care system with regular monitoring.

Results of the first audit of specialist inpatient healthcare services for people with learning difficulties found that services operated off the radar of the healthcare system. There was poor training and no framework to measure services.

The report found that many PCTs and health authorities had not inspected the care provider they commissioned in the last six months. Five care providers were reported to local authorities for further investigation (see box).

The audit looked particularly at specialist inpatient services provided by the NHS and independent organisations, but not those registered with the Commission for Social Care Inspection, which regulates most of the country's care homes.

Care services minister Ivan Lewis said: 'We welcome this report and its findings and are pleased that the Healthcare Commission will now be monitoring NHS trusts' performance every year. All relevant NHS organisations will have to deliver action plans setting out what they are doing to address these shortcomings.'


Healthcare Commission report

Care providers to undergo investigation:

  • Bromley PCT.
  • North Lincolnshire PCT.
  • Care Principles Ltd.
  • Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust.
  • Sandwell Mental Health and Social Care Trust.
    Source: Healthcare Commission
Comment below and tell us what you think


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

GMC sign

Gaps in GMC referral and exam pass rates for ethnic minority doctors falling, says GMC

Gaps in fitness to practise referrals and exam pass rates between doctors from white...

Pharmacy shelves

Menopause prescribing advice updated as HRT shortage continues

The British Menopause Society has recommended alternative options for prescribers...

GP sign

Using IIF cash to top up staff pay risks major gap in practice finances, warn accountants

GP practices could face a major cash shortfall in 2024/25 if they use investment...

Paxlovid – one of the treatments available for COVID-19

GPs could play bigger role in prescribing COVID-19 treatments from end of June

GPs could play a greater role in prescribing COVID-19 treatments to patients at risk...

Physiotherapist works with patient

Is the government right to claim its 26,000 additional roles target has been met?

Prime minister Rishi Sunak claimed last month that the government had met its manifesto...

Statement of fitness for work

GP training: Tips for completing FIT notes

GP trainer Dr Pipin Singh provides advice for trainees on how to complete fit notes,...