Wednesday 10 September 2014

Winterbourne update

A number of key meetings last week and this. First, with Norman Lamb MP, the Care and Support Minister (who will, incidentally, be speaking at our Lib Dem Conference event). He was the politician who made the brave pledge to move people with learning disabilities into the community and away from institutions like Winterbourne. The pledge has not been honoured, and I know he feels deeply about that, but he was right to make the pledge and right to be holding NHS England's feet to the fire (and indeed mine) on achieving it now. I was able to outline the key planks of the work we are doing in the steering group. We discussed the issue of closing facilites: clearly some are not for the NHS to close, but I argued there is a duty to spell out the journey that means we will close institutional care - so that care and support in the community is the norm not the exception. Of course this means we have to develop community facilities, and the third sector's role here is crucial. We also need proper crisis support. But clarity on the objective is crucial. 

And I saw Norman again at a summit organised by him and the third sector organisation ‘Change’, which I have blogged about before. Philippa Brangan was able to demonstrate what work they do in promoting and supporting professional work for people with learning disabilities. What came across to me is the crucial importance of securing a transfer of power from the state to the citizen in the work we do on a commissioning framework. Norman raised the question of giving people ‘the right to challenge’. Music to my ears. In fact when I presented my report on ‘Choice and Competition’ to the Cabinet during the Health and Social Care Act Listening Exercise, the right to challenge for citizens in their health service was a key recommendation. The NHS Constitution  states that ‘the NHS belongs to the people’ yet this is hardly evidenced! So we will look at the potential for empowerment, challenge and personal budgets. However personal budgets require choice. That requires a bigger provider market and so the role of the third sector - as advocates and campaigners as well as providers of citizen focused services becomes even more crucial.

The clock is now ticking as we aim for our last meeting on the 27th October and all of the discussions with PLD and families to support that. I was able to report to the Department of Health assurance group (chaired by Norman and Gavin Harding, who has been an invaluable member of my steering group) on Monday about what we are up to. Frankly we need to focus on outcomes as what I'm told is people with learning disabilities want progress and action, not more discussion. Exactly what Gavin emphasised on Monday. And what we will try to do at our meeting later today. 


The Mother. said...

Oh Bubb, you need to look at this - so e people have no intention of letting you achieve your aims - 45 million to be spent on the biggest people warehouse in Europe- just so disabled people can be shut away from the world!

Idea - call your legal beagles and get an injunction to stop this internment camp from being built - it goes against all human rights and dignity if young people with LD and / or autism.

Families Matter said...

Sir Stephen, here's some thought regarding the St Andrews plans...
I remember the old psychiatric hospitals because my mother was in a few. Lock them up and medicate them. Years of wasted lives because 'out of sight, out of mind' was the simple option and so much easier on our consciences.

Then came Care in the Community. Do you know something? That was quite a good idea. It was probably done to save money but even so it was a good idea. The thing in the community needs investment and initiative. Local authorities have to be innovative and...Heaven hard to find custom solutions for each individual. In the end, it will be worth it because it works out so much cheaper, but hey...who needs hard work? So in the end, LAs would rather spend a fortune dumping people in big old hospitals and secure units than exercise a bit of brainpower to find cheaper, bespoke provisions that meets people's needs and enables them to live fulfilling lives.

You have to wonder how some people get the jobs they do in local government. Waste money? Tick. Condemn vulnerable people to a life in hospital they do not want and do not need? Oh yes...tick that big time.

So, Sir Stephen, do you want to make a difference? Or do you want to be another fat cat bureaucrat who really can't be arsed?

Anonymous said...

The starting point, even in preliminary discussions, shouldn't be the closure of institutions. It should be the provision of appropriate care and support for people who can't manage it themselves.

If we don't put that first, the institutions will close and there will be no net to catch those who find themselves without support.

Also some institutions are great. Just saying.