In response to a CQC interim report into segregation for people with learning disabilities and autism, Julie Ogley, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: “ADASS welcomes the interim report of the Care Quality Commission and completely supports its recommendations.

“ADASS agrees with CQC’s conclusion that “the ‘current system of care’ has failed people whose care pathway has ended with them being segregated in a hospital. The system is not fit for purpose.”

“ADASS believes that the use of restraint, segregation and seclusion should be viewed through a Human Rights Act lens. It is fundamental we recognise that the use of such measures are all examples of deprivation of someone’s liberty – and so will be illegal, unless undertaken within the context of specific legislation designed to protect people in the most vulnerable circumstances– i.e. The Mental Health Act, Mental Capacity Act and in accordance with Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).

“The use of restraint, segregation and seclusion of citizens should only take place as a last resort and for the shortest possible time, and only where the safety of the individual concerned is dependent on such action. Each incident should be subject to a best interest assessment and be subject to a full review of the circumstances which triggered the event.

“CQC’s report shines a spotlight on the continued failings in the current system where too many vulnerable people with learning disabilities and autism are all too often being subjected to restraint and long term segregation. We welcome the recommendation for an independent and in-depth review of the care provided to and the discharge plan for each person who is segregated. ADASS is ready to play a part in the expert group which the CQC recommends should be established to consider what would be the key features of a better system.

“ADASS believes that part of the answer to this problem is in investing in community-based services, including services which can respond at times of crisis, reducing the need for people with learning disabilities and autism to be admitted to special hospitals. Such services require funding and need to be available throughout the country, able to provide care and support for people with learning disabilities and autism to continue living as full citizens in the community.

“ADASS members in all local authority adult social care departments will continue to work with partners in the NHS to find appropriate care solutions, in close collaboration with people with learning disabilities and autism and their families. Restraint and segregation are unacceptable outcomes for vulnerable people and CQC is right to say that the system is not fit for purpose.”