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Half of learning disabilities services failed CQC inspection

People with learning disabilities have a one in two chance of being cared for by services that don't meet the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) essential standards.

Almost 150 unnanounced inspections were carried out in the wake of the Winterbourne View Hospital scandal, focusing on the safety, care and welfare of patients.

Overall, the CQC found that nearly half the hospitals and care homes inspected did not meet the required standards.

Some assessment and treatment services were found to admit people for “disproportionately” long spells of time and many discharge arrangements “take too long to arrange”.  

Furthermore, the CQC's report said there is an “urgent need” to reduce the use of restraint and provide training for instances when restraint is unavoidable.

While there are clear improvements to be made, Dame Jo Williams, Chair of the CQC, gave reassurance there was no evidence that points to abuse on the scale which was uncovered at Winterbourne View Hospital.

“People who use learning disability services need care and support and they and their families need to be treated with care and respect. While our inspections found examples of good care, too often they found that services were not meeting the individual needs of people,” she said.

“All too often, inspection teams found that people using services were at risk of being restrained inappropriately because staff often did not understand what actions count as restraint, and when restraint happened there was inadequate review of these putting people at risk of harm or abuse.

“While the findings published today highlight serious concerns about the nature of services for people with learning disabilities, we can offer some reassurance.  There is no evidence that points to abuse on the scale which was uncovered at Winterbourne View Hospital.”

The CQC found Independent Healthcare services (33% compliant) were twice as likely to fail to meet the standards as NHS providers (68% compliant).