Winterbourne View: 'Current resources for learning disabilities should be re-allocated

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Monday 10th December 2012
Embargo: 4.30pm Monday 10th December 2012

The shocking facts surrounding events at Winterbourne View earlier this year "perfectly illustrate the need to personalise services; to integrate health and social care, and to coordinate care around individuals rather than services," according to ADASS President Sarah Pickup.

On the day the Government published its final report on the scandal at the assessment and treatment centre, she added: "only measures such as these will provide people with learning disabilities with the care and support they need to help ensure they are safe; that they can maximise their potential, and can live as independently as possible."

In its work with the Department of Health and others, ADASS has recognised that the shocking abuse at Winterbourne View provides stark evidence of what can happen when the care and health system fails to focus on achieving good outcomes for the people it is there to serve.

The most immediate failure was of a provider, Castlebeck, offering a service to meet very high levels of need; charging extremely high fees to public agencies in order to meet those needs, and then completely failing to deliver on the promises made. Mrs Pickup said: "We must ensure that providers in future are properly held to account for this kind of failure.

"This case has led us to look across the system at how we are meeting the needs of others when they come to us in the midst of a crisis - or with complex needs that require assessment and treatment before any long-term arrangements for accommodation, care and support can be put in place.

"We have found this system wanting."

She went on to say that the principles of personalisation, integration and care coordination have been much cited in the Health and Social Care Act and in the Care and Support White Paper and Bill. "The reports published today on Winterbourne View impel us all to turn these principles into reality for all - especially for the most vulnerable.

"Previous policy drives have led to many people with learning disabilities up and down the country receiving excellent, personalised care that maximises their independence. We  know perfectly well how to achieve this. Yet at Winterbourne View and perhaps elsewhere we have failed a group of the most vulnerable of people with learning disabilities. We must now work to ensure that they too can benefit from the best services we can and do arrange.

"We must ensure that when one part of the system arranges a service to meet an immediate and urgent need that there is an immediate connection to the rest of the system so that planning for a longer term solution can begin immediately."

ADASS is ready to play its part in working at national level with the NHS Commissioning Board, the Department of Health and the Local Government Association, and with people who use services and family carers, to drive forward system change and to support and encourage necessary local action through councils, Clinical Commissioning Groups and their Health and Wellbeing Boards.

Mrs Pickup ended by insisting that it is vital for the health and social care systems to come together to drive forward action. "The resources currently spent on care in independent hospitals and assessment units can be, and should be, re-allocated to more appropriate forms of long term care with a focus on personalised care and support plans for each individual."

ENDS

For further information contact:
Sarah Pickup, ADASS President, 01992 556300
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

Editorial Notes

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors of adult social services in local authorities in England. DASSs have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people and adults with disabilities, while over 50 per cent also run social housing departments. ADASS members might also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of housing, leisure, library, culture and arts services within their councils.

A personal budget is a clear, upfront amount of funding from adult social care which individuals can spend on the services and support they need to help them live more independently. It can be used to buy services from both the council and other providers, mixing and matching whats available from different organisations.

Anyone aged 18 or over who is eligible for social care support can have a personal budget - but it is down to individuals whether they manage their budget themselves or whether someone else does this on their behalf.

The Department of Health survey of adult social care 2010/2011 showed that:

* 62% of service users who responded said that they were extremely or very satisfied with the care and support services they receive.

*28% said they were quite satisfied, 7% said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and the remaining 3% said they were dissatisfied.

*26% reported their quality of life was so good, it could not be better or very good.

* 31% reported it was good, and

*33% reported it was alright.

* 10% reported their quality of life was either bad, very bad or so bad it could not be worse

See full results here.