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Psychiatric Hospitals: Children

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 256312, tabled on 20 May 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Far less than they deserve published by the Children’s Commissioner on 20 May 2019, what plans he has to publish a national strategy to replace Transforming Care.

Answered on

23 May 2019

‘Building the right support’, published in 2015 by NHS England, the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) is the national plan in England for reducing the number of people with learning disabilities or autistic people who are inpatients in mental health hospitals. It set out a clear framework for commissioners to reduce inpatient capacity by developing more community services for people with learning disabilities or autistic people with behaviour that challenges. The expectation was for a reduction in inpatient numbers of between 35 and 50% by March 2019.

By the end of April 2019, inpatient numbers had reduced by 22%. National Health Service planning guidance for 2019/20 requires a 35% reduction in inpatients compared to 2015 no later than the end of 2019/20. The LGA and ADASS, as key delivery partners of the Transforming Care programme, will continue to support work to improve provision of suitable accommodation and services in the community and the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education will remain accountable for ensuring that children and young people receive the support they need.

The NHS Long Term Plan prioritises services for children and young people, providing a clear focus on improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people with learning disabilities and/or autism, as well as committing to implementing ‘Building the right support’ in full, achieving at least a 50% reduction in the number of people with a learning disability or autism who are inpatients, compared to the figure in 2015, by the end of 2023/24.

The Long Term Plan sets out specific commitments to achieve this by developing new models of care to provide care closer to home and investing in intensive, crisis and forensic community support. By 2023/24 children and young people with a learning disability, autism or both with the most complex needs will also have a designated keyworker. These will be initially provided to children and young people who are inpatients or at risk of being admitted to hospital.

Local health systems have been asked to develop plans for implementing the Long Term Plan’s commitments. These plans will be brought together in a national implementation programme for the Long Term Plan to 2023-24, and an NHS workforce implementation plan, by the end of 2019.

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