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We said, “No!”

Last week Sally Warren from Paradigm attended two wonderful events, she was with her colleague and self advocate Jackie Downer, they were part of a panel and the question they were posed was, “Was the care industry fit for purpose?”… The answer was, “No!”

Here’s a video where Sally explains why?

‘We must stop people being dumped in waste bins of life’

Today (Wednesday 26 November 2014) The Society section of the Guardian (p 42) has an article in it called We must stop people being dumped in waste bins of life’.

The article highlights that a report published today by NHS England aims to cut the use of the institutions (assessment and treatment units) and increase community support for people with a learning disability or autism who display ‘challenging behaviour’.

In the article Stephen Bubb (who was appointed in July to develop a commissioning framework to increase community support and transfers from institutions) says, ‘I would be disappointed if in three years time we have not achieved a significant number of (inpatient) closures’.

We have to say we are a little confused. Wasn’t there a government pledge to transfer inpatients into the community to by June this year, 2014? And Stephen Bubb, please explain your ‘disappointment’ to the family of Stephanie Bincliffe who at twenty five died from heart problems and sleep apnoea. She lived in a padded room for almost seven years, with no fresh air or exercise and weighed 26 stone when she died (as the article highlights).

Thankfully the article describes how, at this very moment in time, a grassroots draft bill is being formed, driven by families of people with learning disabilities whose sons or daughters have died in those units or whose sons or daughters are being held in those units as if they are ‘mentally ill or a criminal’, parents who are forced to watch their sons/daughters regress in there. This draft bill obliges local authorities and NHS bodies to integrate disabled people into communities. Campaigners are hoping that a second draft of this bill will be adopted by an MP in January so that as Sara Ryan (mother of Connor Sparrowhawk nicknamed LB for ‘Laughing Boy’ who drowned in a NHS trust unit) says, we can change ‘the default position that people can just be dumped in these units- these waste bins of life- indefinitely.’

2,600 people with learning disabilities and autism are stuck in assessment and treatment centres run by the NHS or private companies, similar to the Winterbourne Unit (that closed in Gloucestershire, following abuse exposed by Panorama in 2011). Many of these units are far away from the families of those being held inside.

Too many people are admitted to these units and for too long a period,usually because the NHS or Council bodies don’t feel that there are alternatives. If the WEEKLY cost of keeping people in these units is about £3,500, there are creative ways for people to live in their local communities with the right sort of wrap around support. People just need to know who to contact for this.  As Gary Bourlet (www.peoplefirstengland.co.uk) said on the BBC News today ‘people mustn’t be punished for having a disability, people belong in their community’.

We must change this automatic default position and be more creative and think of people’s human rights. Articles like this bring it in the public eye more. Now we need to get it into the tabloids and grow the ground swell of discontent. Help take action now, feedback on the LB Bill NOW!

PLUS PLEASE sign up and join the action being led by people with learning disabilities, families and providers working together as the http://learningdisabilityalliance.org   We all need to join together and act!

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Eileen Flavelle
Very powerful stuff Sally.

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