Neither Autism, nor learning disabilities are mental health conditions, and although people with a learning disability and/or Autism can experience mental health problems in the same way anyone else can, long-term mental health hospital stays are an inappropriate way of providing them with the care that they need.
The plan commits to ensuring that all people with a learning disability and/or Autism can get the necessary support in their community instead of long-stay inpatient settings.
Debbie Neill, Director of Learning Disabilities and Autism at Look Ahead says:
“We welcome the government’s commitment to bringing people with a learning disability and/or Autism back into their communities with appropriate care, rather than being held in hospitals for extended periods – often for many years – away from their loved ones and families.
At Look Ahead we have seen the lifechanging positive effects that living in the community with the correct support after hospital stays can have many times, and hope that the more than 2,000 people still kept in such settings, and at risk of abuse, will be able to enjoy similar life changes.
However, If the government is to make good on this commitment, adequate investment in suitable community-based housing and social care must be made. We hope Whitehall will keep their promises and not simply become the latest in a more than decade-long succession of failures to deliver the quality of life that citizens with a learning disability and/or autism deserve and are entitled to.”